President Biden has issued an executive order which cancels a Trump Administration ban on legal immigration to the U.S., meaning new green cards can now start to be granted to those applying from overseas.
In the proclamation, Biden said that the ban was harmful to citizens and permanent residents who have been prevented from bringing certain family members (except spouses, parents or unmarried children) to live with them. When Trump issued his order back in April, during the first peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, he argued that the ban was needed as immigrants were a “risk” to the American job market.
As expected, this ban has led to a huge backlog in overseas green card applications, which could mean longer waits for those applying for permanent residence. As of March 4, the backlog – which includes just those pending interviews at the National Visa Center – is estimated to consist of around 470,000 applications, up from 75,000 at the beginning of last year. On top of the ban, shutdowns of embassies and visa processing centers across the world have also contributed to the build up.
The undoing of the ban will also further open up the American economy to foreign workers whom many companies, especially those in the booming technology industry, depend on.
Those looking to apply for a green card are urged to do so as soon as possible, as to avoid the potential for longer wait times caused by the backlog of existing applications, and a further potential increase as the economy opens up again. Whilst USCIS are working “as quickly as possible” to rectify the situation, they have indicated that they will be prioritising green cards for green cards for spouses and children of U.S. citizens.
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The above text is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Get in touch with our team if you need any advice regarding your own immigration situation.
© Margaret W. Wong & Associates LLC