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US panel okays move to cut green card process to six months, Indian migrants stand to gain

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A US presidential advisory commission has unanimously voted in favour of fast-tracking the  process for dealing with applications for American green cards or permanent residency so that they are cleared within six months.

The proposal if cleared by the White House will come as a major boon for Indian-Americans and other immigrants in the US. 

Currently many job applicants get left out because of the delay in processing their papers and families have to wait for decades before they can  unite with their members settled in the US.

The recommendations of the will now be sent to the White House for approval.

The proposal cleared by the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders( PACAANHPI), was moved by eminent Indian-American Ajay Jain Bhutoria at the meeting in Washington.

To reduce, pending green card backlog, the advisory commission recommended US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review their processes, systems, policies and establish new internal cycle time goals by streamlining processes, removing redundant steps if any, automating any manual approvals, improving their internal dashboards and reporting system and enhancing policies.

The recommendations aim to reduce the cycle time for processing all forms related to family based green card application, DACA renewals, all other green card applications within six months and issue adjudicate decisions within six months of application received by it.

The commission recommended National Visa Center (NVC) State Department facility to hire additional officers to increase their capacity to process green card applications interviews by 100 per cent in three months from August 2022, and to increase Green card applications visa interviews and adjudicate decisions by 150 per cent – up from capacity of 32,439 in April 2022 – by April 2023.

"Thereafter Green Card visa interviews and visa processing timeline should be a maximum of six months," it said.

Aimed at making it easier for the immigrants to stay and work in the country, the commission recommended that USCIS should review requests for work permits, travel documents and temporary status extensions or changes within three months and adjudicate decisions.

According to the policy paper presented by Mr Bhutoria, only 65,452 family preference green cards were issued in fiscal 2021 out of the annual 226,000 green cards available, leaving hundreds of thousands of green cards unused and keeping many more families needlessly separated.

There were as many as 421,358 pending interviews in April.