We have some great news for all those who has been waiting for their priority date to become current in an employment-based immigration category. The July 2007 visa availability bulletin, which was released yesterday shows that all employment preference categories (except for Third “Other Workers” ) have been made “Current” for July. This means that as of July 1, 2007, everyone who has been waiting to file their I-485 Application for Permanent Residency can do so.
There has been a lot of speculation regarding this unexpected change in the visa availability bulletin. Many feel that this has been done in an effort to generate increased demand by Immigration Services for adjustment of status cases, and to maximize number use under the annual numerical limit.
Even though the employment categories are now current, that does not mean that they will remain this way. There is the possibility that not all Employment preferences will remain ‘Current” for the remainder of the fiscal year. Should the rate of demand for numbers be very heavy in the coming months, it could become necessary to retrogress some cut-off dates for September, most likely for China-mainland born and India, but also possibly for Mexico and Philippines. Several governmental organizations and officials believe the numbers will retrogress severely by 2008.
If you have a priority date that is now current, please contact us immediately to begin your adjustment of status application. You cannot afford to waste any time as there is no guarantee as to how long your priority date will remain current.
Here is the June 2007 Visa Bulletin:
VISA BULLETIN FOR JUNE 2007
A. STATUTORY NUMBERS:
1. This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during June. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status. Allocations were made, to the extent possible under the numerical limitations, for the demand received by May 11th in the chronological order of the reported priority dates. If the demand could not be satisfied within the statutory or regulatory limits, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed. The cut-off date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits. Only applicants who have a priority date earlier than the cut-off date may be allotted a number. Immediately that it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a cut-off date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the priority date falls within the new cut-off date. 2. Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000. The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000. Section 202 prescribes that the per-country limit for preference immigrants is set at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits, i.e., 25,620. The dependent area limit is set at 2%, or 7,320.
3. Section 203 of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of immigrant visas as follows:
First : Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.
Second : Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, and any unused first preference numbers:
A. Spouses and Children: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;
B. Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older): 23% of the overall second preference limitation.
Third : Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.
Fourth : Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.
First : Priority Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.
Second : Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.
Third : Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to “Other Workers”.
Fourth : Certain Special Immigrants: 7.1% of the worldwide level.
Fifth : Employment Creation: 7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of P.L. 102-395.
4. INA Section 203(e) provides that family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition in behalf of each has been filed. Section 203(d) provides that spouses and children of preference immigrants are entitled to the same status, and the same order of consideration, if accompanying or following to join the principal. The visa prorating provisions of Section 202(e) apply to allocations for a foreign state or dependent area when visa demand exceeds the per-country limit. These provisions apply at present to the following oversubscribed chargeability areas: CHINA-mainland born, INDIA, MEXICO, and PHILIPPINES.
5. On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); “C” means current, i.e., numbers are available for all qualified applicants; and “U” means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available. (NOTE: Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.)
|Fam-ily||All Charge- ability Areas Except Those Listed||CHINA-mainland born||INDIA||MEXICO||PHILIPP-INES|
*NOTE: For June, 2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 01MAY01. 2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 01MAY01 and earlier than 22APR02. (All 2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit; there are no 2A numbers for MEXICO subject to per-country limit.)
|Certain Religious Workers||C||C||C||C||C|
|Iraqi & Afghani Translators||18SEP06||18SEP06||18SEP06||18SEP06||18SEP06|
|Targeted Employ-ment Areas/
The Department of State has available a recorded message with visa availability information which can be heard at: (area code 202) 663-1541. This recording will be updated in the middle of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.
Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category: Section 203(e) of the NACARA, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105 – 139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year. This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program. Since the EW cut-off date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002.
B. DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY
Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides a maximum of up to 55,000 immigrant visas each fiscal year to permit immigration opportunities for persons from countries other than the principal sources of current immigration to the United States. The Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997 stipulates that beginning with DV-99, and for as long as necessary, up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NACARA program. This reduction has resulted in the DV-2007 annual limit being reduced to 50,000. DV visas are divided among six geographic regions. No one country can receive more than seven percent of the available diversity visas in any one year.
For June, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2007 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:
|Region||All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately|
|NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS)||7|
|SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN||1,750|
Entitlement to immigrant status in the DV category lasts only through the end of the fiscal (visa) year for which the applicant is selected in the lottery. The year of entitlement for all applicants registered for the DV-2007 program ends as of September 30, 2007. DV visas may not be issued to DV-2007 applicants after that date. Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2007 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2007. DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2007 cannot be taken for granted. Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.
C. ADVANCE NOTIFICATION OF THE DIVERSITY (DV) IMMIGRANT CATEGORY RANK CUT-OFFS WHICH WILL APPLY IN JULY
For July, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2007 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:
|Region||All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately|
|NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS)||12|
|SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN||2,500|
D. EMPLOYMENT THIRD PREFERENCE “OTHER WORKER” CATEGORY FOR JUNE
A few “Other Worker” numbers which had been allocated for April were returned unused at the end of the month. As a result, a very small June allocation has been possible, for applicants with priority dates before October 1, 2001. The category will become “Unavailable” once again beginning in July and will remain so for the remainder of FY-2007.
E. EMPLOYMENT-BASED VISA AVAILABILITY DURING THE COMING MONTHS
The current level of demand in many of the Employment-based categories has been much lower than anticipated. As a result, the June cut-off dates have been advanced significantly in an effort to maximize number use under the annual numerical limits. At this time it appears likely that there will be additional advances during the coming months.
All readers should be aware that such cut-off date movements should allow for action to be finalized on a significant number of Citizenship and Immigration Services adjustment of status cases. Once that level of demand begins to exceed the supply of available numbers it will be necessary to make “adjustments” to the cut-off dates. At this time is in not possible to estimate when this is likely to occur, but it is expected.