Department Of State’s October Visa Bulletin Includes Significant Reduction In EB-2 Visa Availability – Work Visas


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The U.S. Department of State (DOS) released its Visa Bulletin for October 2022. The Visa
Bulletin is a monthly DOS publication regarding immigrant visa
availability. The Bulletin lists the cut-off dates that govern visa
availability and determines which applicants are eligible to file
for adjustment of status (final stage of Green Card processing), as
well as which applicants are eligible to be granted permanent
residency. Since Congress sets limits on the number of immigrant
visas that can be issued each year, to adjust status to legal
permanent resident, an immigrant visa must be available to the
applicant both at the time of filing and at the time of
adjudication. Applicants who have a priority date earlier than the
cut-off date published in the most current Visa Bulletin are
eligible to apply for permanent residence depending on varying
factors.

The October 2022 Visa Bulletin is of particular importance as it
includes a significant retrogression in priority dates for the EB-2
visa category for individuals born in India. During FY2022, the DOS
issued Visa Bulletins with substantial forward movement in the EB-2
category for Indian nationals in order to utilize a historically
higher number of employment-based immigrant visas that became
available as a result of unused visa numbers in FY2021. Given the
high volume of applications received in FY2022 under the EB-2
category for India, the Department has projected lower visa
availability in the EB-2 category for India during FY 2023,
resulting in the drastic retrogression in an effort to avoid
exceeding the annual numerical limit.

As a result of the retrogression, many Indian nationals will now
continue to wait until the Visa Bulletin progresses and their
priority date becomes current. As many of these individuals have
been waiting for over 10 years, the retrogression is a setback on
their long journey to permanent residency.

Many might now be asking what does this mean for those
individuals whose priority dates were current and who filed an
application for adjustment of status and now, their priority date
no longer meets the cutoff date?

For adjustment of status applications filed and pending with
USCIS, the officer will review visa availability at the time of
adjudication and if an applicant’s priority date no longer
meets the cut-off date published in that month’s Visa Bulletin,
their case will be held in abeyance until their priority date is
once again current and a visa is available. During this period of
abeyance, applicants are eligible to continue to apply for and
renew their employment authorization document (EAD) and advance
parole (AP) travel document until their case is adjudicated. USCIS
will resume adjudication of cases held in abeyance and finalize
processing of visa-retrogressed cases when an applicant’s
priority dates become current based on the dates in the current
month’s Visa Bulletin. When USCIS resumes adjudication, they
will review the file and may request updated information from an
applicant in the form of a request for evidence or an interview
notice.

As retrogression can lead to lengthy adjudication periods for
adjustment of status applications, it is even more crucial for
applicants to make sure they keep USCIS informed of their current
address. USCIS will send all correspondence to an applicant’s
last known address on record and if USCIS is not notified of a
change of address, it could jeopardize an applicant’s case in
the event they miss important correspondence or deadlines. Non-U.S.
citizens must file an AR-11 to report a change of address to the
USCIS within 10 days of the change.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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