A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration lawyer. We serve clients in all U.S. states and overseas countries. (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

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Monday, June 22, 2020

Good News for Employment-Based Immigrant Visa Applicants

Are you waiting for your employment-visa priority date to be current? Are you troubled by the Executive orders, issued one after another during this uncertain time? Stay tuned, there is some good news for you! According to the Visa Chief of the State of Department, there are some extra visa numbers available for EB-1, 2, and 3 applicants in FY2021.

Mr. Charles Oppenheim, the Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at the U.S. Department of State, anticipates that there will be increased Employment-based visas available for the coming fiscal year. Why? It is because Charles expects that there will be a notable amount of unused Family visa numbers from FY2020, due to COVID-related policy changes and global consular closure. In combination with the spillover of unused Family-based visa numbers from the prior year, we are expecting the "FY2021 Employment limit will be at least 200,000."  The normal annual visa quota for Employment categories is 140,000.  


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How many visa numbers for each Employment-sponsored category are we talking about for FY2021? Charles anticipates that EB-1, 2, and 3 will likely be getting an additional 17,160 visas each. Approximately an additional 4,260 visas will go to the EB-4 and EB-5 categories.

Charles also notes that the annual deduction of 700 EB-5 and 300 EB-3 visas based on the Chinese Student Protection Act will be completely satisfied in FY2020. That means the available visa numbers for China will not only increase because of the higher Employment annual limit, but also benefit from the normal application of a 7% per-country limit starting FY2021 (October 1, 2020). However, Charles also mentioned that there are several thousand Chinese cases awaiting additional visa documents at the National Visa Center (NVC). Charles calls on all EB-5 applicants (not just Chinese) with cases currently pending at the NVC to respond to notices for additional documents in time for their final interview to be scheduled as soon as Consulate Offices reopen.

In addition, the Final Action Date for EB-5 India is listed as "Current" in the July Visa Bulletin. That means Indians who are in the U.S. can file for adjustment of status (Form I-485) if they have an approved EB-5 petition (Form I-526). They can file for employment authorization (EAD) and a travel document (advance parole) as well.

Please note that this is not a guarantee that visa numbers will increase, according to Charles. Things could always change between now and September. Further, these additional visa numbers will also benefit adjustment applicants inside the US.  Overseas immigration has been banned by President Trump for the rest of 2021.  However, for the time being, this news is indeed a silver lining for all the employment-based visa applicants during this uncertain time.

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