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Wait time for US employer-sponsored green card rises


BENGALURU: Employer-sponsored green card processing delays have crossed the three-year wait time in 2022. David J Bier, associate director of immigration studies at Cato Institute, wrote on the US think tank’s blog, “Paying a $2,500 fee could cut this wait to “only” 2 years and 5 months. The government has added nearly 16 months to the average green card process since 2016, with more than a year added in 2021 and 2022 alone.” Employers have the option to pay a $2,500 fee compared to the $700 regular processing fee to get a response in 15 days.
In 2016, the regular processing time was 1.9 years and if one paid the $2,500 premium processing fee, it would be reduced to 1.6 years. Bier pointed out that the processing delays come on top of the time to wait for a green card cap slot to become available under the annual limits (which can be many years).
Most employer-sponsored immigrants pass through six steps that includes a prefiling stage that requires the applicant and employer to provide documents to prove their eligibility for a green card. This is followed by the Department of Labour evaluating prevailing wages, skill level and area code. In the case of wage determination, the wait time has gone up three-fold to 182 days in 2022, from 76 in 2016.
Bier said the process is leading to massive processing backlogs in the employer-sponsored immigration system. “Again, these processing backlogs are in addition to the backlog of workers waiting for a cap spot to become available,” he said.
America, he said, will lose the global competition for talent when other countries grant green cards in a matter of a few weeks or months, not years. “It’s time for the US government to radically streamline its immigration system and eliminate unnecessary burdensome procedures,” Bier wrote.



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