Significant Retrogression in EB-2 India Visa Availability
As many of you are aware, visa availability in the long backlogged employment-based second preference (EB-2) category for Indian nationals had advanced significantly in recent months. In November, for example, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was accepting and approving adjustment of status applications from Indian nationals with EB-2 priority dates of June 2008 or earlier. Although still a long time to wait, the June 2008 date represented a significant, and welcomed, jump ahead from backlogs of 2004 just a few months earlier.
Unfortunately, due to the extraordinary high demand brought about by this rapid advancement, the State Department's Visa Office late last month stopped allocating visa numbers to Indian adjustment of status applicants with EB-2 priority dates after November 2004. Even worse, the Visa Office has recently confirmed that the "cut-off" priority date for EB-2 India is expected to remain stuck at November 2004 for some time. The Visa Office further noted that while it was possible the "cut off" date may again advance to 2008 late next year, it is too early to tell when this will occur.
If you have employees with EB-2 India priority dates between November 2004 and June 2008 whose adjustment of status applications were not adjudicated before this recent retrogression, their applications will remain pending with USCIS until the priority dates again advance. In the meantime, these applicants and their immediate family members will continue to be eligible to apply for extensions of employment and travel authorization while they await the forward movement of the EB-2 India priority date.