The U.S. Department of State (DOS) published the Monthly Visa Bulletin for July 2018, reflecting retrogression for EB-3 China, significant forward progress for EB-2 China and India, EB-3 and Other Workers India, along with no change in the other countries and preference categories.
The EB-1 category remains current for applicants born in all countries, except for China and India which retrogressed in the April 2017 Visa Bulletin by 6 years, 2 months, and 2 weeks from a current priority date in the Visa Bulletin for the month of March. The EB-3 category also retrogressed for China by 2 years 5 months from June 1, 2015, in the June Visa Bulletin, attributed to EB-2 China applicants downgrading to EB-3. The retrogression is attributed to a high demand of applicants from these countries and preference categories reaching the per country quota already for this fiscal year. This retrogression is anticipated to be temporary but should last until the beginning of the next fiscal year on October 1, 2018, with EB-1 anticipated to return to “current” and EB-3 China anticipated to return to June 1, 2015.
The EB-2 category remains current for countries other than China, which moved forward 4 months, and India, which moved forward 2 months 3 weeks. In addition to the retrogression of EB-3 China, the EB-3 category remains current for all countries except: India (forward 6 months to November 1, 2008); and, the Philippines (no change). The Other Workers category moved forward 6 months for India while holding steady for China and the Philippines.
The EB-5 Category remains current for applicants born in all countries except for mainland China and Vietnam, which both remain backlogged to August 1, 2014, with no change since the June 2018 Visa Bulletin.
Beginning October 2015, the DOS began publishing two distinct dates for backlogged employment-based immigrant preference categories, referred to as a “filing cut-off date” and a “final action cut-off date.” Applicants may file their applications or have their applications finally adjudicated when their priority date is “current.” The priority date, which is typically the date the labor certification or immigrant petition was originally filed, is said to be “current” when the priority date is earlier than the posted cut-off date in the Monthly Visa Bulletin, based on the person’s immigrant preference category and country of birth. DOS indicated that unless otherwise indicated on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) website that CIS will accept employment-based applications filed based on the “final action cut-off date.”
CIS confirmed the final action cut-off dates will continue to be used for employment-based preference filings for July 2018. The applicant’s priority date must be current under the “final action cut-off date” before CIS can finally approve the application.
Applicants who will become eligible to file immigrant applications in July should initiate applications now with their Foster attorney to plan for the earliest possible filing date in the month of July.