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Carl Shusterman's Immigration Update


  1. Visa Bulletin : Update and Predictions

    The government’s new fiscal year will begin on October 1st, and as usual, there will be some significant advances in priority dates for green cards, particularly in the employment-based categories.

    Employment-Based Categories

    The EB-1 category for persons born in India and China will again be current (no backlogs).
    The worldwide EB-2 category will again be current and will advance an average of 2 years for India and China.
    The worldwide EB-3 category will advance 1 month. China EB-3 will jump forward over 3 years, Philippines by 5 months and India by only 2 weeks.
    The worldwide EB-4 category will remain current, with a huge leap forward for various Central American countries.
    Worldwide EB-5 also will remain current, but China EB-5 will inch forward by only 1 week. The EB-5 regional center program is due to expire on September 30 and will need to be reauthorized by Congress.

    Family-Based Categories

    The forward movement in the family-based categories will remain slow. The worldwide categories will advance between 1 and 6 weeks.
    However, there are a few notable exceptions.
    Mexico 2A will advance by 3 months, China F4 by 4 months and India F4 by almost 2 years.

    Predictions for the Near Future

    The State Department predicts that India EB-2 will continue to advance up to 4 months each Visa Bulletin and that China EB-2 will move forward by 3 months.
    The demand for EB-3 numbers could slow down the forward worldwide movement in the coming fiscal year. India will continue to inch forward by only one week per month (Time to get rid of per-country quotas!). However, China will advance by 3 months at a time and EB-3 Philippines could also see significant advances.
    The family-based categories are all severely backlogged and any forward movement will be incremental.

    Updated 09-12-2016 at 12:35 PM by CShusterman

  2. Another Benefit From Obama's Early AOS Rule

    Starting October 1, 2015, tens of thousands of persons in the Employment-Based (EB) and Family-Based (EB) preference categories will be able to submit applications for Adjustment of Status and receive Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) and Advance Paroles (APs) long before their priority dates become current.

    For many persons whose priority dates have been backlogged for years, this new policy will give them the freedom to change employers without harming their ability to become green card holders.

    This is due to the 180-Day Portability rule in the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act (AC-21). This rule allows persons in the EB categories who have approved I-140 visa petitions and whose I-485s have been pending for 180 days or more to change employers if their new employment is in the same or a similar occupation.

    Below is an example of how this would work:

    Vijay, a systems analyst from India, is in the EB-2 category which is backlogged in the October 2015 Visa Bulletin to May 1, 2005 for persons born in India.

    Vijay began working for Employer A in H-1B status in 2008. Employer A filed a PERM application for Vijay in 2009. Both the PERM application and the subsequently filed I-140 have been approved for many years.

    Even though Vijay has worked for Employer A for over 7 years, he is unable to change jobs without jeopardizing his green card application. If he changes jobs before getting his green card, his new employer would have to obtain approvals for both a new PERM application and an I-140 in order for Vijay to retain his 2008 priority date.

    Under the new rules, anyone from India with an EB-2 priority date before July 1, 2011 who is otherwise eligible can apply for adjustment of status in October 2015. Under the 180-day portability rule, in April 2016, they can leave Employer A and take a job with Employer B as long as their new job is in the same or a similar occupation. Employer B will not have to submit a new PERM application or I-140 visa petition for Vijay.

    When Vijay’s priority date becomes current, he can submit his I-485 packet.
    For Vijay and for hundreds of thousands of professionals from around the world who work in the U.S. using temporary working visas, this is a tremendous benefit. It is especially significant for persons born in India, China and the Philippines, all countries with huge EB backlogs.

    More Resources on Obama's New Program

  3. JUNE VISA BULLETIN: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY The June 2015 Visa Bulletin contains a bit of good news for persons in certain employment-based (EB) categories. However, for others, like Chinese investors, the news is mostly bad. For Filipino professionals and Mexicans and Filipinos in some of the family-based (FB) categories, the news is downright ugly.

    The Good
    The worldwide EB-3 category (professionals, skilled and unskilled workers) advances 6 weeks creating the shortest backlog in this category in several years.

    For persons born in China, the EB-2 numbers (for advanced-degree professionals) jump ahead by an entire year! EB-3 China advances by 4 months.

    For persons born in India, the EB-2 category leaps ahead by 5 ½ months while the EB-3 numbers inch forward by a single week.

    The Bad
    The worldwide family-based categories barely advance while the FB-2B (unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents) and FB-3 (married sons and daughters of US citizens) numbers remain frozen.

    For persons born in Mexico, most of the family-based categories advance either 1 week or not at all. In some of these categories, the waiting times exceed 20 years. The same is true for persons born in the Philippines.

    The EB-5 investor category for persons born in China, which retrogressed 2 years in May, fails to move forward in June.

    The Ugly
    For persons born in Mexico who were sponsored by their US citizen brothers and sisters 18 years ago, the wait lengthens by 4 ½ months. This is a good example of how our legal immigration system is broken.

    But what is much worse is the Philippines FB-1 category for unmarried adult sons and daughters of US citizens. In June, the present 10-year wait will lengthen to 15 years!

    And finally, have pity for Filipinos in the EB-3 category (nurses, accountants, engineers, etc.). In May, their waiting times increased from 7 months to 7 years. (No, this is not a typo!). And in June, their waiting times will increase again, this time to 10 years.

    Coming Attractions
    Remember that as the federal fiscal year (October 1 to September 30) approaches its end, waiting times have a tendency to increase. This year, there are increasing earlier than usual.

    However, do not despair. When the October Visa Bulletin is released, the outlook is bound to improve, at least to an extent.

    If only Congress would take action to fix our broken immigration system, but that would probably be asking too much…

    Updated 05-26-2015 at 03:15 PM by CShusterman (Visa Bulletin, Priority Date, Family-Based, Employment-Based)

  4. September 2013 Brings Good News

    The September 2013 Visa Bulletin is like an early Christmas gift come early for thousands of family-based and employment-based immigrants.

    On the family side, the 2A category (spouses and children of permanent residents) remains current (no backlogs) for a second month in a row. The retrogression is bound to start come October so the time to apply is now.

    The biggest advance on worldwide numbers is the 2B category (unmarried adult sons and daughter of permanent residents) which moves forward 10 weeks. For Filipino unmarried adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens, the numbers advance over 4 months.


    Categories Worldwide China (PRC) Mexico Philippines
    1st 9-15-06 9-15-06 9-8-93 5-8-01
    2A Current Current Current Current
    2B 2-15-06 2-15-06 2-22-94 1-22-03
    3rd 1-22-03 1-22-03 5-15-93 12-22-92
    4th 7-22-01 7-22-01 10-8-96 2-15-90

    The worldwide EB-3 category (professionals, skilled and unskilled workers) jumps ahead by 1 1/2 years to July 10, 2010. And, at last, there is some good news for persons born in India. EB-2 (advance degreed workers) advances 5 1/2 months and EB-3 a full 8 months.


    Categories Worldwide China (PRC) India Mexico Philippines
    1st Current Current Current Current Current
    2nd Current 8-8-08 6-15-08 Current Current
    3rd 7-1-10 7-1-10 9-22-03 7-1-10 12-1-06
    Unskilled 7-1-10 6-15-04 9-22-03 7-1-10 12-1-06
    4th Current Current Current Current Current
    Religious Current Current Current Current Current
    5th Current Current Current Current Current

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    Updated 11-20-2013 at 11:17 AM by CShusterman

  5. Family 2A Goes Current in August

    The August 2013 Visa Bulletin contains great news for both spouses and children of permanent residents. As of August 1, the Family 2A category will be current for all countries.

    If you have a green card, and your spouse (and/or children) are lawfully present in the U.S., they should get ready to file their I-485 packets in August. Even if the category retrogresses later on, they will be able to remain in the U.S. together with you. In 90 days, they will receive their work and travel permits. Your spouse will be able to get a drivers license. Your kids will be able to enroll in school.

    If the I-130 petition is pending, they can file their I-485s. If you have not filed anything for them, get ready to file I-130s and I-485s in August.

    If you were waiting to naturalize before you sponsored them for green cards, or before you got married, wait no longer. Sponsor them in August, or marry your boyfriend or girlfriend in July, and get the paperwork ready to file in August.

    And given the Supreme Court's recent decision striking down section 3 of DOMA, remember that the above advice applies to same-sex couples as well.

    If your spouse is abroad or entered the U.S. unlawfully, things are a bit more complex. The time to see your immigration lawyer is now!

    Below are the dates for the family-based categories in the August 2013 Visa Bulletin:


    Categories Worldwide China (PRC) Mexico Philippines
    1st 9-1-06 9-1-06 9-1-93 1-1-01
    2A Current Current Current Current
    2B 12-1-05 12-1-05 2-1-94 12-22-02
    3rd 12-8-02 12-8-02 5-1-93 12-1-92
    4th 6-22-01 6-22-01 9-22-96 1-8-90

    The big news in employment-based numbers is that India EB-2 advances from 2004 to 2008. If this affects you, be sure to file your I-485 in August.


    Categories Worldwide China (PRC) India Mexico Philippines
    1st Current Current Current Current Current
    2nd Current 8-8-08 1-1-08 Current Current
    3rd 1-1-09 1-1-09 1-22-03 1-1-09 10-22-06
    Unskilled 1-1-09 3-22-04 1-22-03 1-1-09 10-22-06
    4th Current Current Current Current Current
    Religious Current Current Current Current Current
    5th Current Current Current Current Current

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