WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, introduced the Preserving Employment Visas Act. This legislation would allow the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to preserve unused employment-based visas for use in Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021 (FY20 and FY21).
This legislation is the House companion to S. 2828, introduced by Senator Thom Tillis, R-NC, in September.
“Ensuring that our immigration system is fair and orderly is one of my top priorities in Congress. These visas are already authorized by Congress and would have been used if not for the COVID-19 pandemic,” Miller-Meeks said in a released statement. “My legislation would fuel the American recovery from COVID-19, contribute to long-term economic growth, and provide relief for healthcare providers by reducing the green card backlog. As a member of the Homeland Security Committee, I look forward to working with USCIS to make sure that our immigration system works for everyone.”
During FY20, 122,000 family-preference visas went unused. This caused the number of employment-based visas available in FY21 to rise to 226,000. This dramatic increase in employment-based visas represents a unique opportunity to reduce the green card backlog and improve American competitiveness through legal immigration.
Processing delays at USCIS could cause employment-based visas to be wasted. According to recent court filings, USCIS is currently at risk of wasting almost 83,000 employment-based visas which expired on October 1st, 2021. This is in addition to 9,100 unused employment-based visas from FY20.
Miller-Meeks believes wasting these visas would be a major loss to American economic competitiveness and to the healthcare industry. American businesses and healthcare providers were already struggling to fill both skilled and unskilled jobs before COVID-19 and continue to face labor shortages during our recovery from the pandemic.
Read the bill below:117 Miller-Meeks Preserving Employment Visas Act