Biden administration eases green card norms ahead of Modi's visit in US
Prime Minister Modi is visiting the US from June 21-24 at the invitation of US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden
The Biden administration has eased norms by releasing policy guidance on the eligibility criteria for those waiting for green cards to work and stay in America, days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US.
Prime Minister Modi is visiting the US from June 21-24 at the invitation of US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. They will host Modi at a state dinner on June 22.
The visit also includes an address to the Joint Session of the Congress on June 22. The guidance issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regarding the eligibility criteria for initial and renewal applications for Employment Authorisation Document (EAD) in compelling circumstances is expected to help thousands of Indian technology professionals who are in the agonisingly long wait for a Green Card or permanent residency.
A Green Card, known officially as a Permanent Resident Card, is a document issued to immigrants to the US as evidence that the bearer has been granted the privilege of residing permanently. Immigration law provides for approximately 1,40,000 employment-based green cards to be issued each year.
However, only seven per cent of those green cards can go to individuals from a single country annually.
The USCIS guidance outlines specific requirements that applicants must meet to be eligible for an initial EAD based on compelling circumstances.
These include being the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, being in valid non-immigrant status or authorised grace period, not having filed an adjustment of status application, and meeting certain biometrics and criminal background requirements.
Further, USCIS will exercise discretion to determine whether an applicant demonstrates compelling circumstances justifying the issuance of employment authorisation.
Bhutoria said the non-exhaustive list of qualifying circumstances, as provided by USCIS, offers individuals an opportunity to present evidence supporting their case.
Foundation of India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS), which has been advocating for laid-off H1-B workers, applauded USCIS for taking such a step that would help a large number of Indian IT professionals.