The Department of State, in the November 2022 Visa Bulletin, included the following in its list of possible future changes in the visa bulletin:
Increased demand in the Employment Second category may necessitate the establishment of a worldwide final action date in the coming months to hold number use within the maximum allowed under the Fiscal Year 2023 annual limit. This situation will be continually monitored, and any necessary adjustments will be made accordingly.
Unfortunately, this means it is very likely that the EB-2 category (which includes employer-sponsored immigrant visas for those with a Master’s Degree or higher and those filing a National Interest Waiver) will backlog in the coming months. We do not know precisely when, and most likely, it will not be until the beginning of next calendar year, but we will have to keep a close eye on the visa bulletin in the coming months.
One point of interest is that DOS indicates that the “final action date” may retrogress. This could mean that the “dates for filing” date could remain current. It would then be up to USCIS to determine which dates they will use to allow the filing of the I-485. For those who may not remember, or be familiar with, the different dates used by the DOS: The “final action dates” table lists the dates for each immigrant visa type for which an immigrant visa is available (this date needs to be current for the I-485 or consular processing case to be approved); The “dates for filing” table lists the dates for each immigrant visa type for which the Department of State thinks that the “final action date” will be at within the next 6-12 months (it is the table used by the Department of State to determine when to begin the consular processing part for each case type). Each month USCIS indicates which table it will use to determine if a potential immigrant can file an I-485 application in a particular immigrant visa category.
If the EB-2 Worldwide numbers do retrogress (and remember, right now, this is just a warning from DOS, not a sure thing), it would also have an impact on the EB-2 numbers for China and India, considering that they will not be able to use any unused numbers from the worldwide visa numbers to help keep those dates where they are, or progress them. It may mean that those countries’ dates retrogress even further.
Those looking at filing an I-485 based on their EB-2 filing or approval should do so as soon as possible to ensure that they will not be locked out of filing the I-485 by retrogression. If you have questions or would like to set up an appointment with us to discuss the filing of the I-485 in your case, please use the following link: https://bit.ly/3NwfebH
Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.