Will the Cloud Help Immigration Wait Times?
If you’ve applied to immigrate to the US, then you’ve probably become skilled at playing the waiting game. It can take months or even years to immigrate. What if technology could make the process faster? The US government has begun to implement cloud technologies that may speed up application times for green cards and work authorizations. Read on to learn how the government’s investment in technology will impact the immigration process.
How the Cloud Can Help Immigration Applicants
In April 2016, CIO.com reported that the chief information officer (CIO) of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Mark Schwartz’s plans for his department. Schwartz discussed the initiatives he’s undertaking to help USCIS deliver an improved experience to end users (in this case, people applying for visas to the US).
Schwartz wants to move to a cloud-based infrastructure for processing applications for green cards, naturalization, and work authorizations. His goal is to create virtual servers to handle greater numbers of applications so that USCIS can reduce processing times.
The Cloud’s Not-So-Silver Lining
There are thousands of people currently waiting to immigrate to the US. Schwartz’s plans to update USCIS’ technology could greatly benefit them. However, these people must be aware that technological changes won’t take place overnight.
The US federal government uses technology that’s decades old. This technology is slow, inefficient and costly. So, why does the government still rely upon it?
The answer is it’s not so simple to upgrade, and the demand for it is not yet critical. Although some of the technology used by government agencies (including USCIS) might be old, much of it still works. Moreover, putting new technological solutions in place requires planning. And many departments and agencies don’t have modernization plans in place.
US Immigration and the Paper Trail
The move to the cloud is one part of the solution to streamlining the immigration process. Another part involves reducing the paper trail for applicants.
At the end of 2014, President Obama issued executive actions aimed at modernizing how the government processes immigration applications. A team spent months researching what applicants go through in order to obtain a visa.
The team learned that a number of opportunities exist to streamline the process. They discovered applicants have to hand-deliver paper documents to US government offices abroad, which makes the process longer. In addition, some of the steps are redundant. For example, applicants have to pay fees throughout the process. The researchers recommended that applicants should pay one upfront fee to simplify matters.
Researchers also believe that government agencies need to collaborate more in order to improve the immigration process. Instead of having to re-enter their information on various government agency websites, applicants should only have to enter it once.
Is the Government Making Progress?
Since the government researchers released their recommendations in July 2015, the US has taken some steps to making the immigration process a little easier and shorter.
USCIS launched a pilot program in six consulates across the globe to make adjudicating applications shorter. The process will be heavily digitized to make it more efficient.
Employees at USCIS will gain better tools for the job. The agency created a content management system that digitizes case files and makes them more accessible to the employees who need them most.
If you haven’t visited USCIS’ website lately, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise. The agency redesigned the site, making it simpler for potential applicants to learn more about how to immigrate to the US. They can determine whether you’re qualified for a particular immigration status and answer questions about applying for a visa.
The US government also realizes it needs to devote more human resources to streamlining the immigration process. In February 2016, USCIS announced a newly created position: deputy CIO for operations. The deputy CIO will manage all of the agency’s IT needs, while the principal deputy CIO will be in charge of tackling technology initiatives that will transform the organization.
Find an Immigration Law Expert to Help You through the US Visa Application Process
Even though the US government is modernizing its visa application process, it can still be difficult to figure out how to immigrate or even apply for a non-immigrant visa to the US. That’s why you need a trusted, experienced lawyer familiar with US immigration law to help you navigate the process.
All our cases are handled by competent and experienced immigration professionals who are affiliated with VisaPlace. These professionals consist of lawyers, licensed paralegals, and consultants who work for Niren and Associates–an award winning immigration firm that adheres to the highest standards of client service.
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