On June 29, 2016, the Office of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman submitted its 2016 Annual Report to Congress. The Ombudsman’s Annual Report must provide a summary of the most pervasive and serious problems encountered by individuals and employers applying for immigration benefits with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The basic message delivered in the report:
The USCIS...still has much work to do to resolve longstanding systemic issues that compromise efficiency, quality of adjudications, and customer service...
They recommend that the USCIS develop and implement a process to accurately predict processing times, allocate more resources to processing employment authorization documents and institute supervisor review for evidence requests, among other recommendations.
The current processing delays and red tape impede companies' ability to bring international talent in and out of the U.S. to meet corporate objectives. Currently, the USCIS process is confusing and processing times exceed mandates. For example, the national average processing time for the Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) is at 6.9 months, exceeding the goal of four months.
CIS Ombudsman Maria Odom said in the report that the agency has made insufficient progress to address: Delays in processing time. Disparities in adjudications across service centers. Lapses in meeting the 90-day regulatory deadline for employment authorization documents. Continued issuance of "overly burdensome and unnecessary requests for evidence. "The ombudsman's report tracks closely with the findings from the Visanow Immigration Trends 2016 survey, which found that almost half of respondents say their company's visa application process has become more difficult in the past five years, due to what they say is an uptick in requests for evidence, slow processing times and lack of transparency.