The U.S. Department of State (DOS) released the April Visa Bulletin , providing the availability of immigrant visa numbers during April 2015. Although the EB-3 “All Other” employment based immigrant visa category advanced approximately four months; EB-2 India eight months; EB-3 India one week; and EB-2 China (mainland) seven months, the EB-3 China cut-off date retrogressed approximately 8 months.
Why did the cut-off date for EB-3 China Retrogress? Since the beginning of the current fiscal year, the DOS has advanced the cut-off date for EB-3 China very rapidly so that it could encourage demand and ensure that all of the visa numbers under the available annual limit would be used and not wasted. Given the continued heavy demand by applicants with early priority dates, the DOS has had to take action in order to keep the issuance of visa numbers within the annual limit. This has resulted in a retrogression of EB-3 China (from October 22, 2011 to January 1, 2011) to take effect as of April 1st.
What does this mean for foreign nationals applying for permanent residence under this category? Individuals born in mainland China with EB-3 priority dates January 1, 2011 or later must file their Adjustment of Status Applications or complete their Immigrant Visa Interview process abroad (if consular processing was selected) no later than March 31, 2015.
What happens to individuals who have a pending Application to Adjust Status with USCIS? The USCIS will continue to adjudicate these applications, i.e. may issue Requests for Evidence, Employment Authorization Document (EAD) cards, Advance Parole (travel documents), etc. but will not be able to approve such applications until the principal applicant’s priority date becomes current once again.
Will the Cut-Off date move ahead again during this fiscal year? That depends on the number of cases filed by EB-3 mainland-China born applicants with very early priority dates. If the DOS sees that demand will not be greater than the numerical limit, the cut-off date may move forward prior to the end of the fiscal year on September 20, 2015. Otherwise, the cut-off date may not move again until the beginning of the next fiscal year on October 1, 2015. The October Visa Bulletin will be released in early September.
If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact your Maggio + Kattar attorney .