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.
Why Are Permanent Resident Cards, Green Cards Going Unused?
According to the US Immigration Law, currently, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can grant US permanent residence to around 675,000 new immigrants every year. Normally, 480,000 visas out of this are reserved for family-based Green Cards. Another 55,000 goes to the winners of the Diversity Visa Lottery Program and 140,000 to employment-based Green Cards. Every year, all unused Green Cards under the family preference categories are added to the allotment of employment-based visas for the next fiscal year.
Now, due to the policies of the Trump administration and the onset of the global pandemic leading to the closure of US Embassies and Consulates abroad, around 122,000 family-based visas went unused in 2020. This raised the hopes of the thousands of people stuck in a backlog in the employment-based visa categories as the visa allotment cap for 2021 was raised to 262,000 from 140,000.