The U.S. Department of State, in its August 2013 Visa Bulletin, announced that the cutoff date for foreign nationals in the EB-2 advanced-degree-professionals category from India will advance to Jan. 1, 2008, a significant jump from the previous month.
Since October 2012, the EB-2 India priority cutoff date had remained stalled at Sept. 1, 2004. As a result, beginning Aug. 1, 2013, individuals who were born in India and assigned dates between September 2004 and January 2008 may proceed to the final stage of the green card process.
“The August Visa Bulletin allows a rarely seen advancement in the Indian EB-2 category,” said Tahmina Watson, immigration attorney and owner of Watson Immigration Law in Seattle.
The bulletin brings much welcome news and relief to many people, she added.
The department’s Visa Bulletin sets out per-country priority cutoff dates that regulate when foreign worker can begin the final phase of the lawful permanent residence (green card) process.
Once a foreign national’s priority date falls before the respective cutoff date, the individual may file an application to adjust his or her status to that of permanent resident or to obtain approval of an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Priority-date cutoffs are assessed each month by the State Department, based on anticipated demand. The dates can move forward, backward or stay the same.
The EB-2 category is backed up for Indian and Chinese nationals because of high demand, and advancement can take a long time.
Brief Window of Opportunity
Eligible EB-2 Indian nationals who do not have pending adjustment applications may have only a brief window to file an application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before the situation changes with the next bulletin.
“Employers will have to step up preparation for filing eligible employees’ adjustment petitions to ensure the window of opportunity is not missed,” said Watson. “In addition, should visas continue to be available and their petitions process, employers should be prepared to receive requests for further evidence from USCIS to verify information about the employment.”
The China EB-2 cutoff date remains Aug. 8, 2008. The EB-2 cutoff date from all other countries is current.
Little Advancement for the EB-3 Category
There is a continued backlog in the EB-3 skilled-workers-and-professionals category for all countries, with slight forward movement for EB-3 individuals from the Philippines but not for those from anywhere else in the world.
The priority-date cutoffs for foreign nationals in the EB-3 category are as follows:
- China: Jan. 1, 2009 (no forward movement).
- India: Jan. 22, 2003 (no forward movement).
- Mexico: Jan. 1, 2009 (no forward movement).
- Philippines: Oct. 22, 2006 (forward movement of 21 days).
- Rest of the World: Jan. 1, 2009 (no forward movement).
Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
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