The U.S. Department of State (DOS) published the Monthly Visa Bulletin for April 2018, reflecting severe retrogression due to oversubscription for EB-1 China and India and forward progress across several other employment-based preference categories for China Mainland-Born, India, and the Philippines.
EB-1 China and India Retrogression in April: Consider Filing for Adjustment of Status Before the End of March
The EB-1 category remains current for applicants born in all countries, except for China and India which retrogressed 6 years, 2 months, and 2 weeks from a current priority date in the Visa Bulletin for the month of March. The retrogression is attributed to a high demand of applicants from these countries reaching the per country quota already for this fiscal year.
Affected applicants from China and India may wish to contact their immigration attorney now to review whether it is possible to file an Adjustment of Status application while their priority date remains current in March. It may be possible to file a concurrent Adjustment of Status while an EB1 Immigrant Visa Petition is pending with USCIS. There is a limited amount of time remaining in the month of March, so these applications would need to be initiated as soon as possible, prepared and filed on an expedited basis.
This retrogression is anticipated to be temporary but should last until the beginning of the next fiscal year on October 1, 2018.
Generally Substantial Forward Progression Otherwise
The EB-2 category remains current other than China and India, which moved forward significantly by 7 months 3 weeks for China but only 1 week for India. The EB-3 category remains “current” for all countries except: China (forward 6 months 2 weeks to June 1, 2015); India (forward 1 year 1 month to February 1, 2008); and, the Philippines (forward 8 months to May 1, 2017). Other Workers China moved forward 1 month to April 1, 2007, Other Workers India moved forward 1 year 1 month to February 1, 2008, and Other Workers Philippines moved forward 8 months to January 1, 2017.
The EB-5 Category remains current for applicants born in all countries except for mainland China, which remains backlogged to July 22, 2014, without any movement since the January 2018 Visa Bulletin.
Beginning October 2015, the DOS began publishing two distinct dates for backlogged employment-based immigrant preference categories, referred to as a “filing cut-off date” and a “final action cut-off date.” Applicants may file their applications or have their applications finally adjudicated when their priority date is “current.” The priority date, which is typically the date the labor certification or immigrant petition was originally filed, is said to be “current” when the priority date is earlier than the posted cut-off date in the Monthly Visa Bulletin, based on the person’s immigrant preference category and country of birth. DOS indicated that unless otherwise indicated on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) website that CIS will accept employment-based applications filed based on the “final action cut-off date.”
CIS confirmed that the final action cut-off dates will be used for employment-based preference filings for April 2018. The applicant’s priority date must be current under the “final action cut-off date” before CIS can finally approve the application.
Applicants who will become eligible to file immigrant applications in April should initiate applications now with their Foster attorney to plan for the earliest possible filing date in the month of April.