In a shocking move late Friday afternoon, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) issued a revised October 2015 Visa Bulletin that supersedes the Visa Bulletin originally published on September 9, 2015. The most dramatic changes impact Indian nationals in the EB-2 preference category, where the original eligible filing date of July 1, 2011 has now been updated to July 1, 2009. In addition, the filing dates for EB-2 China have changed from May 1, 2014 to January 1, 2013. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has advised applicants that it will rely on the latest chart published by DOS on September 25, 2015 rather than the earlier bulletin. As a result, many individuals and their families must continue to wait before they can apply for the final stages of the green card.
As we earlier reported this month, USCIS in coordination with DOS had announced that the agencies were revising the procedures for determining visa availability. This announcement signaled a hopeful change that the Administration was making true on President Obama’s November 2014 executive actions to modernize and improve the country’s immigrant visa program. However, Friday’s announcement of the reversal of filing dates, mere days before the new Visa Bulletin is to take effect, is leaving employees, employers, and immigration professionals justifiably disappointed, angry, and confused. The government miscalculation of visa numbers is an enormous embarrassment for the Administration.