USCIS Sets May 2022 Adjustment of Status Filing Charts For the Visa Bulletin
Pasricha & Patel
Following the U.S. Department of State’s publication of the May 2022 Visa Bulletin, the USCIS has once again confirmed that it will continue to follow the Dates for Filing for Family-Sponsored Adjustment of Status Applications for the May 2022 Visa Bulletin as family-based immigrant visa usage continues to improve as U.S. consulates move to normal operations.
Because the F2A category remains ‘Current’ on the Final Action Dates Chart for Family-Sponsored Adjustment of Status Applications preference cases, this means that once again, applicants in the F2A category (spouses and children of permanent residents) should continue to follow the Final Action Dates chart for the May 2022 visa bulletin and this applies to all nationalities as well.
And continuing the precedent first started in October 2021 and through the first four (4) months of the calendar year 2022 for employment-based visa applicants, the USCIS will still follow the Dates for Filing for Employment-based Adjustment of Status Applications chart for the month of May 2022.
As previously predicted by the U.S. Department of State in late 2021, the employment-based 3rd visa preference category for India and China for the month of May 2022 visa bulletin remains stagnant and shows no forward movement at all. However, there was some slight movement forward of visa dates in the EB-2 India visa preference category under the Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases. In the May 2022 visa bulletin, EB-2 India now shows visa availability before September 1, 2013. Previously, in the April 2022 visa bulletin, the same table for EB-2 India showed visa availability date of July 8, 2013.
As a further reminder, it was Mr. Charlie Oppenheim, who was the former Chief of the Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting Division of the U.S. Department of State, before he retired in December 2021, and in his earlier monthly visa bulletin chats, who stated that these slow visa movements are expected to continue to last for the foreseeable future, and it is the result of previous months of rapid advance movement in the EB-3 visa preference category for two (2) countries - China and India. There was heavy demand for EB-3 visa numbers in FY 2021. As a result, it greatly outstripped the monthly quota numbers, and it has resulted in retrogression for both India and China starting in the November 2021 visa bulletin and it has continued to remain in retrogression to the present and it is projected to last for the foreseeable future as well.
It should be noted that the May 2022 EB-1 visa preference category continues to remain Current for both China and India, along with all other countries.
Meanwhile, EB-2 China’s Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases for the month of May 2022 also remained at March 1, 2019, which is the same date as its April 2022 visa bulletin date of March 1, 2019.
These visa number movements are consistent with the projections that the Department of State had first provided in October 2021 in which it forecasted that EB-2 visa filing dates would progressively move ahead in months at the onset, but will start to slow down as the months progress in this current fiscal year 2023. Meanwhile, the EB-3 visa filing dates would remain stagnant for the upcoming fiscal year.
However, there continues to be signals ahead where if the demand for EB-2 visas remains stronger than usual (note: this has also been spurred by separate USCIS announcement that it is encouraging applicants to file employment-based petitions using the EB-2 visa preference category) that there could be a stoppage to the forward movement of the EB-2 visas, with great likelihood that the EB-2 visa would retrogress. It is evident that EB-2 visa forward movement is already slowing down in these last few months. It goes without saying that this particular visa category warrants continuous monitoring in the coming months.
About the EB-3 visa preference category, for EB-3 India, the visa filing date under the Dates for Filing for Employment-Based Adjustment of Status Applications remains the same date of January 22, 2012 in the May 2022 visa bulletin as it was in the April 2022 visa bulletin. It is expected to remain on the same date for the remainder of the Fiscal Year 2023.
As for EB-3 China, the visa filing date also remained stagnant, as the filing date remained at April 1, 2018 in the May 2022 visa bulletin. In fact, the Department of State even mentions the possibility that due to high number use in the Employment Third Preference “Other Workers” category, it may necessitate the establishment of a worldwide final action date as early as June in order to hold number use in that particular category within the Fiscal Year 2022 limit. Department of State recommends that this situation should be monitored very closely and in the upcoming months.
With no significant movement in the general EB-3 India and China visa preference categories for the May 2022 visa bulletin, previous projections from the Department of State that the visa filing dates for this particular category may remain stagnant for the foreseeable future and at least for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2023 continues to hold true.
The reasoning for the stagnant movement continues to be the fact that applicants in those particular visa categories had previously filed for EB-2 to EB-3 visa preference category downgrades with the USCIS. But they most likely would have retained their initial EB-2 I-140 approvals as well. However, with the EB-2 visa movement also slowing down, the EB-2 and EB-3 India and China visa users are facing likelihood of possible retrogression as mentioned above.
Department of State also confirms that as a result of the enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2022 on March 15, 2022, the Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers (SR) category will be extended until September 30, 2022. This means that effective immediately (from April 2022), all countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, all have visas in ‘current’ status.
Finally, on the EB-5 immigrant investor visa category front, with enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act on March 15, 2022, which not only reauthorizes but also reforms the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program, the Department of State has immediately resumed processing visa applications based on approved I-526 (regional center petitions) that were filed with USCIS on or before June 30, 2021.
Department of State’s visa bulletin for EB-5 preference category has also been updated to reflect the new provisions of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA). It now has two (2) pools of visa numbers within the EB-5 category. One is reserved for certain set-aside categories while the remaining available numbers remain ‘unreserved’.
Furthermore, the Chart A of the Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference categories reflect final action dates for May that are effective immediately for the month of April. Also, the employment-based 5th preference category Unreserved is ‘Current’ for all countries, and the employment-based 5th preference Unreserved categories are all current for all countries except for China-mainland born, which is subject to a November 22, 2015 final action date. All reserved categories are ‘Current’ for all countries.
But Department of State does bring up the possible necessity to establish a China-mainland born final action date and application filing date for the C5 (employment created outside of a targeted area) and T5 (employment created inside of a targeted area/rural high unemployment area) categories as early as June 2022 in order to maintain number use within the maximum allowed until the Fiscal Year 2022 annual limits if enough demand does occur.
As the visa bulletin filing dates continue to slow down in Fiscal Year 2023, we also encourage readers to continue to check back with our site for any updates regarding this and any other latest immigration news and developments.
Should you wish to discuss your case matter further, we encourage you to contact our office and schedule an appointment so we can assist you further.