July 17, 2023

Important Visa Bulletin Retrogression in EB-1 and EB-3 Categories

This message is primarily meant for individuals and their employers who have an approved Form I-140 and who are awaiting the priority date to become “current” in their Employment Based preference category, in order to file an application to adjust status to permanent residence (a “green card” application). If this situation does not describe you, then you may disregard this message.

If you do (or your employee does) have an approved Form I-140 petition and have been awaiting your priority date to become current, then you may have heard that the Department of State’s August Visa Bulletin was recently released and that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has confirmed that it will only accept employment-based adjustment of status applications under the “Final Action” chart. For more information on visa availability, priority dates and the two charts, please read this explanation from USCIS.

Unfortunately, the news for August is not generally positive. While there was some advancement in dates in the EB-2 and EB-3 “other” [generally unskilled] workers categories, most EB-1 and EB-3 categories have retrogressed. Some of this retrogression is extremely significant, as shown in the chart below:

Category August 2023 Visa Bulletin Date Retrogression
EB-1: India January 1, 2012 10 years, 1 month
EB-3: All Chargeability May 1, 2020 1 year, 9 months
EB-3: Mexico May 1, 2020 1 year, 9 months
EB-3: Philippines May 1, 2020 1 year, 9 months
EB-1: All Chargeability August 1, 2023 Cutoff date imposed
EB-1: Mexico August 1, 2023 Cutoff date imposed
EB-1: Philippines August 1, 2023 Cutoff date imposed

As indicated by the chart, some categories, which have historically not had any backlog, such as the EB-1 “All Chargeability,” EB-1 “Mexico,” and EB-1 “Philippines” categories, now have priority dates. This suggests that there may be a waiting period in these categories going forward, between the time an I-140 may be filed, and the time that an individual may apply for permanent residency.

Increased waiting periods for green cards are a serious problem in the immigration field. Only the U.S. Congress has the authority to make long-term, significant changes in how many green cards are available. We encourage all stakeholders in this process to contact their federal representatives and urge them to prioritize making permanent residency more quickly attainable. We believe that the best way to keep the United States competitive and thriving is to modernize the U.S. immigration system to provide reasonable timelines for individuals seeking permanent residency.

Please keep in mind that visa bulletin dates can change periodically. The biggest changes often occur in October at the beginning of the government’s new fiscal year. There is no guarantee that the August retrogressions will continue, but there is likewise no guarantee that the dates will improve. We encourage affected clients to check the bulletin every month for the latest information on green card availability. We are committed to assisting you through the immigration process. As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

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