The US government will fail to issue many family-based and employment-based Green Cards this year. According to the Department of State’s estimates, around 100,000 employment-based Green Cards and 150,000 family-based Green Cards are expected to go unused by the end of the 2021 fiscal year, that is, September 30, 2022. This is the second year in a row that 100,000 family-based Green Cards will go unused.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced the list of approved vaccines for international travelers planning on coming to the US once the Covid-19 related travel bans are lifted. This announcement comes in the wake of the Biden Administration’s decision on lifting travel bans from Europe, Brazil, India, China, Iran, and South Africa.
The US Department of State issued the Visa Bulletin for October 2021 on September 13, 2021. This bulletin highlighted little advancement in clearing the backlog of employment-based immigrant visas compared to October 2020, which allowed thousands of employment-based visa holders to apply for adjustment of status.
Recently, 16 plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the Western District Court of Washington to challenge the existing US immigration policy regarding work authorization for spouses of the L-1 Visa and the H-1B Visa holders. In 2015, the Barack Obama administration authorized the spouses of H-1B Visa holders to be gainfully employed in the US.
The E-2 Investor Visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows foreign entrepreneurs and investors from countries that have a treaty with the United States to establish their business here. While the E-2 Visa does not offer a direct pathway to US permanent residence, it does allow 5 years of temporary residence and the option to apply for 2 years of extensions indefinitely as long as the requirements for the program are met.
US employers heavily rely on the H-2B Visa program to hire temporary foreign workers to fill temporary and non-professional positions. The H-2B Visa program is tough since employers are required to conduct a labor market test to obtain a temporary foreign labor certification. However, over the years it has become essential for US employers as a way of meeting the growing demand for temporary workers.
On September 20, 2021, the White House announced an end to the Covid-19 related travel restrictions imposed in 2020. The Covid-19 travel bans will be replaced by Covid-19 testing and vaccination requirements for all international travelers by early November.