Visa Backlog set to ease or even disappear
President Biden’s new immigration bill: the U.S. Citizenship Act 2021, which contains 3 provisions, could considerably ease or even eliminate, the delays of several years experienced by applicants from China, Vietnam and India, the worst effected nations.
The three provisions are referred to as:
Ending the Per-Country Cap on Employment Based Visas
Currently, a cap of 7% of the annual global allocation of approximately 10,000 USCIS issued green card visas can go to a single nation. Hence the backlog. Once a nation is up against this cap, backlogs begin to grow. Removing the cap would not only end the backlog, it should speed up visa issuances for approved investors who have had no choice but to wait patiently in the wings.
Exempting Children and Spouses from the Visa Cap
An EB-5 application from an investor wishing to migrate to the U.S. can include a spouse and any number of his or her children under the age of 21 at the time of I-526 petition filing. Under existing rules, a family of 4 uses up 4 visas from the annual cap. The U.S. Citizenship Act aims to alter the rules so that each application will only use up a single unit regardless of the number of family members. Given the average application results in, approximately, 3 visas being removed from the per country allocation, this rule change effectively triples the allocation.
Reclaiming Unused Visas
The EB-5 program began in 1992. The program was far less popular in the early years, meaning there are tens of thousands of visas which could have been claimed, but weren’t. Up to now, there was no way of deploying these unallocated visas. President Biden’s U.S. Citizenship Act could potentially, if passed, allow the reclaiming of tens of thousands of unused visas for the benefit of the many applicants caught up in long wait lists.
It is becoming clearer that Biden’s intentions, by eliminating country and size of family numbers from caps, will dramatically improve the EB-5 investor visa program whilst removing the uncertainties which currently afflict each applicant from wait listed countries such as China, Vietnam and India.
Alex Mustafa 16 March 2021
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