The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has released its Visa Bulletin for October 2022. This crucial publication contains information regarding the availability of immigrant visas, such as the EB-2. In addition, the Visa Bulletin specifically provides information on the cut-off dates that determine visa availability, when applicants may file for an adjustment of status, and when applicants may become eligible for permanent residency.
Congress sets the number of immigrant visas which may be issued annually. Furthermore, to adjust their status, an immigrant visa must be available both at filing and upon the time of adjudication. Applicants with a priority date earlier than the cut-off date in the most recent Visa Bulletin may be eligible to proceed with an application for permanent residence.
The most recent Visa Bulletin has been particularly important because it provided significant retrogression of the priority dates for EB-2 visas for India. This change occurred because of the considerable forward movement in the EB-2 category during FY 2022. In this case, many unused family-based visas from FY 2021 transferred to the employment-based category for the following year. In response to this forward movement, there was a significant increase in the number of applicants for the EB-2 India category in FY 2022 despite the far lower projected availability of visa numbers for FY 2023. The result became a significant retrogression to fit within the annual numerical limit.
Due to this retrogression, many Indian nationals must wait until their priority date becomes current. Many Indian citizens have waited over a decade, making this retrogression a major setback. Those with current priority dates before the retrogression and who filed for adjustments of status with priority dates that did not meet the cut-off will see their cases held in abeyance.
This abeyance period will continue until the priority date on their case becomes current, and visa numbers become available. However, during this period, applicants will remain eligible to submit an application for/or renew an employment authorization document (EAD) and an advance parole (AP) travel document. USCIS will adjudicate cases held in abeyance once its priority date becomes current based on the Visa Bulletin. Once adjudication occurs, the USCIS will review files and update information upon request. Reviews may involve a request for evidence or an interview.
For employers, these changes can result in significant confusion when completing and updating Form I-9, employment eligibility verification. One of the best ways for an employer to ensure they remain in compliance is with an electronic Form I-9 management system. This tool can guide employers through the process, send reminders when reviews and updates are needed, and ensure convenient and secure storage of forms and documentation.
When it comes to your employees, automation makes eligibility verification quick and simple. Ensure compliance today with I-9 Compliance.