The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has published the Monthly Visa Bulletin for September, indicating a retrogression of more than seven years in visa availability under the Employment-based, Second (EB-2) Preference category for applicants born in China. Beginning September 1, 2015, EB-2 applicants born in China or India must have a priority date earlier than January 1, 2006, in order to file an Application to Adjust Status, or to have pending applications approved. This new cut-off date represents a retrogression of more than 7 years for EB-2 China and almost 3 years for EB-2 India.

U.S. Department of State officials explained that such significant corrective action was required in order to avoid oversubscription of the EB-2 China and EB-2 India categories. While the Department of State had previously predicted that cut-off dates likely would hold steady for the remainder of the fiscal year, officials attributed the unexpected retrogression to higher than expected worldwide demand under the EB-1 and EB-2 categories, leaving no available numbers to “flow down” to the EB-2 China and EB-2 India categories.

When the new fiscal year begins in October, applicants should again see some forward movement in their respective immigrant visa categories, though any such movement should not be as dramatic as the September retrogression.

EB-2 China and EB-2 India Applicants Should Act Now to File Applications before September 1st

For the remainder of the month of August, EB-2 applicants born in China may continue to file Applications to Adjust Status so long as their priority dates are earlier than the August Visa Bulletin’s EB-2 China cut-off date of December 15, 2013. EB-2 applicants born in India may file before September 1st so long as their priority dates are earlier than October 1, 2008. Applicants should contact their Foster immigration attorney now in order to initiate and file qualifying applications before September 1st. Filing before September 1st will enable applicants to secure interim benefits such as Employment Authorization Document (EAD) cards and Advance Parole Travel Documents, which can be renewed for as long as the Application to Adjust Status remains pending.

Other Notable Movement

The September Visa Bulletin indicates a forward movement of 6 months for EB-3 applicants born in China, India and the Philippines. The new cut-off date is December 22, 2004. The EB-3 category for all other countries of birth progressed to a new cut-off date of August 22, 2015, which is only 2 weeks off from being “current.”