As predicted by many observers, the Department of State's Visa Bulletin for October 2016 shows forward movement on the "Final Action" chart for many employment-based preference categories. All nationalities will be current for the EB-1 category, which is reserved for Individuals of Extraordinary Ability, Outstanding Professors/Researchers, and Multi-National Executives/Managers. This category was backlogged in August and September for Chinese and Indian nationals. The EB-2 category, which is for professionals holding advanced degrees, Individuals of Exceptional Ability, and those applying in the National Interest Waiver category, will be current for all nationalities except for China and India. This category was backlogged in August and September for all countries, so although this forward movement does not help Chinese and Indian nationals it does benefit individuals from all other countries in this category. The EB-3 category remains slightly retrogressed for all nations, with more severe backlogs for nationals of India, the Philippines and China.
For the first time in Visa Bulletin history, USCIS announced that it will accept applications for Adjustment of Status (also commonly referred to as "green card" applications) from qualified foreign nationals based on the October Bulletin's "Dates for Filing" chart for EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 categories and all Family Based Categories. This is a significant development and major departure from prior policy where USCIS would only recognize the "Final Action Dates" chart. For example, the Final Action chart lists 15 January 2007 as the current priority date for Indian nationals in the EB-2 category, while the Dates for Filing chart lists 22 April 2009. To be sure, USCIS use of the Dates for Filing chart will not decrease the oppressively long wait times for green card approval. This shift in policy should, however, provide individual applicants and their employers with many of the benefits that come with a pending adjustment application-employment authorization cards, advance parole, and the flexibility to change jobs in some circumstances.
To view a copy of the October Visa Bulletin, visit the U.S. Department of State's website. If you have questions regarding priority dates and eligibility for filing adjustment of status applications, please contact the attorneys at Iandoli Desai & Cronin at firstname.lastname@example.org.