The DOS recently released its September 2007 Visa Bulletin which again makes employment-based immigrant visa numbers available, contrary to the previous guidance provided by the DOS in the August 2007 Visa Bulletin.

In the August 2007 Visa Bulletin, the DOS made all employment-based immigrant visa categories “Unavailable.” The DOS stated that due to the fact that it significantly advanced the priority cut-off dates in many of the employment- based immigrant visa categories in May and June 2007 and then made all of the employment-based immigrant visa categories available in July 2007, that all of the employment-based immigrant visa numbers available in fiscal year 2007 (October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007) had been used.

However, in the September 2007 Visa Bulletin, the DOS indicated that in fact not all of the employment-based immigrant visa numbers have been used and thus it again established priority date cut-offs for many of the employment- based immigrant visa categories. Although it reestablished priority date cut-offs for many of the employmentbased immigrant visa categories, the EB-3 category for Indian, Chinese and Mexican nationals remains Unavailable. Additionally, the EB-3 Other Workers category remains Unavailable.

The following is a comparison of the priority date cut-offs since retrogression occurred in the employment-based immigrant visa categories:

The DOS has informally indicated that it believes that visa availability for October 2007 should closely match the availability in the September 2007 Visa Bulletin in the EB-1 and EB-2 categories for all countries. However, the cut-off dates for October 2007 in the EB-3 preference category may be comparable to those found in the January 2007 Visa Bulletin. Additionally, the DOS informally predicts that the EB-3 Other Worker category will have a cut-off date around October 2001 in the October 2007 Visa Bulletin.

The DOS has warned that these cut-off dates could retrogress in the future if demand in various categories significantly increases. Please note that prior to July 2007, the EB-1 and EB-2 World categories were Current and thus did not have a cut-off date. However, it appears that these categories will have a cut-off date at least through the end of October 2007, if not for a longer time.

Please note that foreign nationals may not commence (or complete) the last stage of the employment-based immigrant visa process until their priority date becomes available. Therefore, although many foreign nationals were able to apply for adjustment of status pursuant to the DOS’ July 2007 Visa Bulletin (as described in the article above), they may not be able to complete the employment-based immigrant visa process for possibly many years until their priority date again becomes available.

Additional information will be contained in our firm’s future Immigration Updates when it becomes available. A more detailed analysis of the priority date retrogression is contained in an Immigration Alert on our firm’s website.