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Foreign-born workers face delays in obtaining green cards

Immigration Services

The wait time for foreign-born workers looking to obtain an employment-based green card is growing significantly longer. This is frustrating both for those seeking U.S. permanent residency and those in the U.S. who want to hire them. Kentucky residents may be surprised to hear that some of those seeking a H-1B employment visa are waiting over 12 months for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to process their applications. This does not include the decade-long wait some foreign-born workers must undergo to obtain a green card.

Part of this problem has to do with per-country visa limitations and employment-based visa quotas. However, this problem is also exasperated by the limited resources available to the USCIS with regards to the required interview foreign-born workers must undergo to obtain an employment-based visa.

In addition, those currently seeking employment-based visas may be more likely to have their application denied compared to previous years. According to the National Foundation for American Policy, the proportion of H-1B petitions that were not approved went up over 40 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017 compared to the third quarter of fiscal year 2017.

For these reasons, those holding an H-1B visa are less inclined to change professions. Employers are no longer permitted to pay a premium processing fee that would speed up the process for allowing an H-1B professional to work for a new employer. H-1B visa holders may fear that more denials mean that if they leave their current job they would not be able to obtain another and thus would be required to leave the U.S.

Professionals from other nations may seek U.S. permanent residency based on employment but doing so under the current presidential administration has become more difficult. This impacts not just the worker but also employers in the U.S. who wish to hire them. Despite these problems, obtaining an employment-based visa is not impossible. However, it often takes the assistance of a skilled legal advocate who understands immigration law and how it affects their clients.

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