Just a few weeks ago there was good news for all those who have been waiting for their priority date to become current in an employment-based immigration category. The Department of State announced in June that the July 2007 visa availability bulletin would show that all employment preference categories (except for Third “Other Workers” ) had been made “Current” for July. That meant that as of July 1, 2007, anyone who had been waiting to file an I-485 Application for Permanent Residency could do so.
In a stunning announcement yesterday, the Department of State revised the July visa bulletin to reflect that ALL available employment-based visas had been allocated for the fiscal year 2007. As a result, beginning yesterday, Immigration Services is rejecting applications to adjust status filed by aliens whose priority dates are not current under the revised July visa bulletin. This also means that it is highly unlikely that visas will be available until the start of the new fiscal year which begins on October 1, 2007.
For those who filed their I-140 Petitions and I-485 Applications concurrently, and enclosed separate filing fee checks, the I-140 and supporting documents will be accepted by Immigration Services for processing and the I-485 and supporting documents and applications will be rejected and returned to the applicant with the filing fee checks. All I-485 Applications filed (even those received by Immigration Services on Monday July 2, 2007, before the revised visa bulletin was issued) WILL be rejected. Filing fee checks will be returned.
There has been a lot of speculation by several immigration attorneys and immigration rights groups in regards to filing a federal lawsuit against Immigration Services. With proof of delivery, proof of rejection by Immigration Services, and evidence that a complete application was submitted to Immigration Services in hand, many lawyers will recommend to their clients that they be plaintiffs in a lawsuit that will probably be filed by the American Immigration Law Foundation (AILF). Those who were arguably entitled to file their I-485 applications (per the first July visa bulletin) but failed to do so, may not be eligible for a remedy. AILF’s Legal Action Center is preparing to litigate. Plaintiffs and class members whose applications were rejected or returned would have the strongest legal claims and have the strongest claims to benefit from a favorable result.