United States

In 2021, the United States received 835 000 new immigrants on a long-term or permanent basis (including changes of status), 44% more than in 2020. This figure comprises 12.5% labour migrants, 76% family members (including accompanying family) and 5.8% humanitarian migrants. Around 399 000 permits were issued to tertiary-level international students and 653 000 to temporary and seasonal labour migrants.

Mexico, India and China were the top three nationalities of newcomers in 2021. Among the top 15 countries of origin, India registered the strongest increase (+46 800) and Viet Nam the largest decrease (-13 400) in flows to the United States compared to the previous year.

In 2022, the number of first asylum applicants increased by 290%, to reach around 730 000. The majority of applicants came from Cuba (157 000), Venezuela (139 000) and Honduras (43 000). The largest increase since 2021 concerned nationals of Cuba (+144 000) and the largest decrease nationals of China (4 600). Of the 226 000 decisions taken in 2022, 21% were positive.

Emigration of United States citizens to OECD countries increased by 36% in 2021, to 102 000. Approximately 12% of this group migrated to Canada, 9% to Spain and 9% to the United Kingdom.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is engaged in a number of initiatives intended to reduce barriers to legal immigration and promote citizenship and integration.

On 15 March 2022, the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 was enacted. The EB-5 Program allows eligible investors to apply for lawful permanent residence under certain conditions. The new legislation, among other things, authorises a new Regional Center Program through 30 September 2027. USCIS is in the process of updating policies and regulations to implement the new statutory requirements.

Several changes were made to the green card system. Since December 2022, green cards have been automatically extended for all lawful permanent residents who apply for naturalisation, in lieu of having to renew their documentation in case of its expiration. In January 2023, USCIS presented a redesign of green cards and employment authorisation documents, which include new fraud protection technology.

In September 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a final rule to preserve and fortify Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). USCIS continues to accept DACA renewal applications but is enjoined by court order from reviewing initial DACA requests.

Also in September 2022, DHS published a final rule to provide clarity and consistency for noncitizens on how DHS applies the public charge ground of inadmissibility. Under the rule, a noncitizen is deemed to be inadmissible if they are likely at any time to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence. Non-cash government benefits such as Medicaid and nutritional assistance are excluded from consideration.

During 2022-23, DHS announced designations or extensions of temporary protected status (TPS) for nationals of South Sudan, Ukraine, Sudan, Afghanistan, Cameroon, Syria, Venezuela, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Haiti, Yemen, Somalia, El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal and Nicaragua.

Following an increase in the backlog of visa applications during the pandemic and extended wait times for interview appointments, temporary changes were made to the visa application system for 2022. The Department of State temporarily waived in-person interview requirements for certain non-immigrant visa categories and for many renewals. In December 2022, the waiver was extended until end of 2023.

Border restrictions due to the Title 42 public health order, which allowed for the expulsion of asylum seekers, ended on 11 May 2023 with the termination of the public health emergency declared with respect to COVID-19. The emergency powers were enacted by the previous administration in March 2020 to prevent cross border spread of COVID-19. Around 2.8 million people were expelled while the order was in place.

Finally, the Presidential Determinations on Refugee Admissions in 2022 and 2023 were increased to a ceiling of 125 000, the highest target in several decades.

For further information: www.whitehouse.gov/priorities | www.dhs.gov | www.uscis.gov | www.state.gov

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