2023's Visa Approvals Are at Pre-Pandemic Levels

Before COVID, H-1B levels were significantly higher than the availability of visas. But when the embassies and consulates were shut down, and international borders were limited, so were the visa requests and approvals. This has affected US businesses relying on specialized workers to fill vacancies, but the good news is around the corner. Reports from the Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Visa Issuance organization show that these numbers are almost back to normal.

Visas By the Numbers

Between immigrant and non-immigrant visas, millions of foreign workers have received work in the United States. For example, in FY 2022, nearly half a million visas were provided in various categories. These categories are broken down as follows:

●     Employment visas: 55,058

●     Special immigrants: 14,903

●     Family preferences: 156,800

●     Diversity immigrants: 54,334

●     Immediate relatives: 212,185

However, these are only the immigrant categories. The predominant number of visas provided to foreigners are typically non-immigrants who wish to enter the US for a temporary stay, then return to their home countries. In FY 2022, the total of these approved visas was 6,815,120.

Looking at those numbers, it’s easy to see how much of an impact non-immigrants have on the US economy. Those visas were not only for skilled workers but would have been taxes paid to the government, purchases to small and large businesses, rental and mortgage income, and much more. 

Then, comparing that number to the 2,792,093 non-immigrant visas issued in FY 2021, you can better grasp how the lack of visas approved negatively impacted the country during the pandemic. The return to pre-pandemic numbers signifies that the virus has been mostly conquered, and people are returning to business as usual. Everyone is hoping that a struggling economy will begin to flourish again.

Backlogs Still Exist

Yet, a little layover from the COVID days muddies the positive news. The backlog of petitions waiting for approval when the virus hit was still there upon the reopening of USCIS’s processing centers. Those petitions received priority over any new registrations, and that backlog is almost conquered but not quite finished. 

Most embassies and consulates have reopened, yet some are still not at full force yet, and others remain closed. This creates a delay as visa hopefuls await their scheduled appointment for the final approval that will give them their coveted H-1B document.

The informed prediction is that this backlog will disappear completely by the end of 2023. Numbers will return to what we saw before the pandemic, and processing centers will have a more manageable caseload. Should the rate increase USCIS requested go through, this will happen even faster.

The State Department understands the impact of these delays on individuals, their families, and the US economy. They’ve taken steps to speed up the processing of backlogged petitions by hiring additional people at processing centers, Consulates, and Embassies. They’ve increased training methods to bring in more staff capable of interviewing visa candidates and added interview waivers for those some immigrants and non-immigrants seeking basic requests such as renewals.

What’s Next?

This is all good news for new H-1B visa petitioners, but it also means your application will have plenty of competition in the lottery process. With so many new rules and regulations, a rate increase in the near future, and the return to pre-pandemic registrations, you need Visa2US on your side.

The immigration experts at Visa2US are ready to answer your questions and help you navigate this new path in your career. We’ve assisted countless people like you in obtaining their H-1B visas successfully, and we know what USCIS expects and how to avoid timely errors. Let us guide you as you take the next steps along this uncharted professional journey.

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H-1B Visa

H-1B Visa

H-1B visa is used by businesses and organizations in the United States to employ foreign nationals with the preferred qualifications, knowledge, and expertise in a role.

I-485 Adjustment of Status

I-485 Adjustment of Status

Submit a form I-485 application to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

An applicant must either hold an advanced degree or have an exceptional ability in their field that would substantially benefit the U.S. to be qualified.