USCIS Announces New Actions to Increase Efficiency and Reduce Caseloads
The United States Citizen and Immigration Services announced in March 2022 that they had new planned efforts to both increase efficiency and combat backlogs in the legal immigration network. The plan is for USCIS to implement backlog reduction methods, expand premium processing, and to provide relief to work permit holders. Mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of resources, USCIS became overwhelmed by an increase in the number of cases combined with a decrease in efficiency. USCIS is actively trying to combat this issue and reduce caseloads and processing times, while still ensuring proper services are available to those who request it. This includes delivering timely and fair decisions to all applicants.
The USCIS has plans to redesign their internal cycle time goals to reduce the waiting period of immigration application decisions. These goals are designed to reduce the average amount of time it takes the USCIS to process and decide on a case. The agency has posted publicly their current average process times and their goal for processing times. For example, currently, an I-129 application takes on average 2 months to process. The new premium processing goal for the I-129 application is 2 weeks. These cycle times offer clear and consistent guidance to USCIS workers on the average time a specific type of application should take to process from when the application is received to when the decision is made.
Expanding Premium Processing
Premium processing is an expedited service that the USCIS uses to process application. As of now, this service is only available to petitioners filing a I-129 Form and to certain employment-based immigrant visa petitioners filing a I-140 form. USCIS intends to begin implementing premium processing availability for other forms as well starting June 1, 2022. These forms include the I-539 form, I-765 form, and the I-140 form under the EB-1 and EB-2 categories. Applicants should confer with an immigration attorney determine whether premium processing would be beneficial for their application.
Improving Access to Employment Authorization Documents
The USCIS has continued to make progress towards an approval for the “Temporary Increase of the Automatic Extension Period of Employment Authorization and Documentation for Certain Renewal Applicants.” USCIS has also recently began providing expedited work authorization renewals for healthcare and childcare workers. Once approved, the ruling would also ensure that individuals do not lose their authorization to work during the period that their application is still pending. If you have more questions about immigration, please contact our office.