EB-3 Category to Close Down on May 1st
On April 8, the State Department published the May 2009 Visa Bulletin online. Gone is the much-lamented six-year wait for green cards for professionals and skilled workers who are being sponsored by their employers. Instead, green cards are "unavailable" in this category for the next 5 months. See
This is the earliest that the category has become unavailable in my 33 years of practicing immigration law. Persons who have played by the rules and have pending applications for adjustment of status now have no idea when, or even if, they will qualify for permanent residence in the U.S. They live in fear of their temporary visas expiring, their children "aging out" and losing their jobs before they can secure green cards.
U.S. employers are fit to be tied. At considerable expense, they obtained temporary working visas for employees filling important positions in their companies. They unsuccessfully attempted to recruit U.S. workers for job vacancies, and obtained approved PERM applications and immigrant visa petitions.
Over half of the students graduating from U.S. universities in science and engineering are foreign-born. If it is impossible to obtain green cards in the U.S., these students will find work in Europe, in Canada, or in India and China. The U.S. will no longer be the world leader in science and technology. The national security implications of this are both enormous and frightening.
Hospitals in rural and inner city locations are particularly hard hit. It is impossible to obtain temporary visas for RNs despite the growing national shortage. Now, the wait for green cards for RNs is impossible to predict. It is folly to think that we can guarantee healthcare coverage to all Americans as long as hundreds of thousands of nursing jobs remain vacant.
U.S. immigration laws severely restrict the number of the people who can qualify for green cards through their jobs. Now, even this restrictive system has broken down.
To add insult to injury, the unavailability of immigrant visas in the EB-3 category will not deter the USCIS from issuing RFEs on pending I-485s. Woe be onto you if your employer cannot demonstrate his "ability to pay" you each year since your labor certification was submitted or if your employer's original job posting was done incorrectly. Your application for adjustment of status will be denied, and you will be placed in removal proceedings.
Immigrants who followed the complex immigration rules will get the following message: Never mind that you paid your taxes and never got so much as a parking ticket, that you were active in your church and that your children were straight A students, that you always maintained your legal status in the U.S.
For you, the American Dream is over.
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