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Scarborough Law Announces – The USCIS April 2018 Visa Bulletin Alert

  • Published: March 20, 2018
Scarborough Law Announces ~ The USCIS April 2018 Visa Bulletin Alert

The April 2018 Visa Bulletin has been released. Employment-Based preference categories will see a significant change starting April 1, 2018.

EB-1 for China and India both retrogress to January 1, 2012 and are expected to remain backlogged until at least the end of the Fiscal Year.  Department of State (DOS) Charlie Oppenheim reports that retrogressions are attributable to usage in the past few months and a lack of visibility into future demand.  The August 28, 2017 announcement that USCIS is expanding in-person interview requirements for employment based Adjustment of Status applications has resulted in lack of visibility as cases are transitioning from a centralized service center processing to field offices throughout the country.  Oppenheim points out that a spike in demand during the transition period resulted in retrogression of certain categories. It remains to be seen if this spike is “artificial” or if we see some relief toward the end of the year as the DOS uncertainty clears.  Inevitably, it seems the lack of certainty can be blamed on implementation of expanded in-person interviews for employment based Adjustment of Status applications and the complexity of tracking these cases as they are transferred to various field offices. I will address the poor implementation and long delays we are seeing from implementation of these often-needless interviews in a separate posting.

{See https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-to-expand-in-person-interview-requirements-for-certain-permanent-residency-applicants for more information on in-person interviews.}

EB-2 and EB-3 China takes a big leap advancing nearly eight months to August 1, 2014 in April.  EB-3 also advances by six and a half months to June 1, 2015.  DOS warns, however, that if significant demand materializes in the future, these categories are at risk for retrogression.  If your case falls within this category, you should file your Adjustment of Status or work to finalize consular processing for the Immigrant Visa Process as soon as possible after April 1, 2018.

EB-2 India advances just one week to December 22, 2008 in April.  The DOS is hopeful that the final action date for this category will advance to early 2009 before the end of the Fiscal Year on September 30, 2018.

EB-3 India makes a significant advancement in April moving ahead to February 1, 2008.  Adjustment of Status applicants whose priority date falls within this category and before February 1, 2008 are reminded to file their Adjustment of Status as soon as possible after April 1, 2018.  While the May numbers are not anticipated to retrogress, it is always best to be prepared and file timely.

Flashback: I had a client in July 2007 whose priority date became current as did many more when the cutoff dates suddenly all became current for employment based preference categories.  The client was scheduled to travel abroad for a 2-month vacation. I advised him to postpone travel to allow for the filing of the Adjustment of Status. He declined and decided to take his chances. Bad idea.  The EB numbers quickly retrogressed after receipt of 60,000 employment based cases and EB-3 was unavailable for the remainder of the Fiscal Year.  The client waited another two years for his priority date to become current again. Bottom line is that you should file as soon as your priority date becomes current due to the unpredictability of the immigrant visa allocation system.

EB-3 Philippines also moves forward by eight months to January 1, 2017. DOS notes, however, that the 80% consular demand for EB-3 Philippines tends to result in demand fluctuations which make this category susceptible to retrogression.

EB-5 Vietnam retrogression is held off in April for another month.  DOS cites the Congressional last minute and brief extensions in the pilot program for lack of advanced scheduling of February appointments in Ho Chi Minh City which resulted in significant unused numbers for EB-5 Vietnam.

EB-5 China for I5 and R5 will be unavailable in April 2018. The DOS cites the expiration of the program which will occur with the March 23, 2018 pilot program expiration unless Congress acts.  If Congress acts to reauthorize the program, DOS reports that these categories will return to “current” except for China which will be subject to a final action date of July 22, 2014.

Family-Based Categories continue to regularly advance by small margins.

What is apparent by the Visa Bulletin is the impact of changes occurring from the current administration.  USCIS implementation of often unnecessary employment-based interviews coupled with Congress’s continual inaction on extensions to the EB-5 program cause uncertainty in the immigration system.

Check out the April 2018 Visa Bulletin original post at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2018/visa-bulletin-for-april-2018.html

Is your priority date current or are you simply confused by the Visa Bulletin numbers?

If you need help understanding how this alert impacts your Immigration case or status please contact Scarborough Law today.

Excerpt From: USCIS & travel.state.gov

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