Latest Updates in U.S. Immigration Policy Related to Green Cards

There have been several significant updates in U.S. immigration policy related to green cards as of late 2023 and early 2024:

  • Visa Bulletin for January 2024

The U.S. Department of State released its Visa Bulletin for January 2024, providing the latest cut-off dates for various green card categories. Notably, there has been no change in the cut-off dates for many categories, including EB-1 for China and India, F-2A for all areas, and F-2B for most countries. However, some movement has been observed in categories like EB-1 for India and EB-2 for All Other Areas, China, and Mexico.

  • Green Card Backlogs

There’s a substantial backlog in green card applications, especially from countries like China, Mexico, India, and the Philippines. These countries often reach their 7% cap faster than others, leading to longer processing times and backlogs that can exceed 20 years for some visa categories. Notably, refugee or asylum claims from these countries are processed under a separate system and do not count towards the 7% cap.

  • U.S. Immigration Reforms for 2024

Significant immigration reforms are anticipated in 2024, particularly targeting the H-1B visa program and the green card backlog. These reforms include changes to the H-1B visa selection process to prevent duplicate entries and address issues in specialty occupation requirements. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to publish a proposed rule on employment-based immigration in August 2024 to modernize provisions for individuals of extraordinary ability and outstanding professors and researchers.

  • Impact on Indian Nationals

The green card backlog has been a significant concern, especially for Indian nationals. Efforts are being made to alleviate these backlogs, which should positively impact Indian applicants. The exact nature of these reforms and their implementation timeline remains to be fully detailed.

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