Employment-based green cards are subject to numerical limitations, leading to competition for available visas. Professionals in high-demand fields may face challenges due to visa quotas, impacting their ability to contribute to the U.S. workforce.
Countries like India face extensive backlogs and the number of available visas has a profound impact on the advancement and/or retrogression of dates, which can be tracked visa the visa bulletin.
During COVID most Consulates were either closed or operating at limited capacity. This resulted in much fewer family-based green cards being issued. Any unused family-based green cards carry over to the employment-based quota and fiscal years 2021 and 2022 saw record high numbers of available green cards. The chart below provides an overview of the number of available green cards for the last four years.
|Number of available employment-based green cards
Although the chart above provides the available number of visas in the past USCIS and DOS have struggled to use all the available visas. For example, in FY 2021 the two agencies were only able to use 195,507 out of the available 262,288.
USCIS has confirmed that for FY 2024 there will be 161,000 available employment-based green cards available. This is the lowest number since 2020. While this is still 21,000 more than the typical 140,000 annual allotment it is a far cry from the numbers available back in FY 2022 which was more than double the typical annual total.
Given the low number of available employment-based visas, we do not expect significant advancement in the cut off dates on the Department of States’s visa bulletin. The January 2024 visa bulletin is a clear indicator that any advancement in dates is going to be slow indeed.
If you have questions about the above or anything immigration related, please feel free to contact PLG Partner Chris Prescott at firstname.lastname@example.org.