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Possible Cut-Off Dates for Employment Based Categories

September 2005
Possible Cut-Off Dates for Employment Based Categories

As discussed in previous updates in Khabar, visa numbers for the employment-based categories have backlogged in recent months. In January, the popular EB-3 category cut-off due to the high demand for visas, and in July the category became completely unavailable for the remainder of fiscal year 2005. Fiscal Year 2006 begins in October, so look for new information on cut-off dates for the category in mid-September, when the October Visa Bulletin is issued. However, the DOS notes that for fiscal year 2006: "The backlog reduction efforts of both [CIS] and the [DOL] continue to result in very heavy demand for Employment-based numbers. It is anticipated that the amount of such cases will be sufficient to use all available numbers in many categories. As a result cut-off dates in the Employment Third preference category will apply to China, India, and the Philippines beginning in October, and it is possible that Mexico may be added to this list. In addition, it is anticipated that heavy demand will require the establishment of a Third preference cut-off date on a worldwide basis by December." Thus, even when new visas are released in October, China, India, and the Philippines will still be backlogged, and all other countries can expect to be backlogged by December. This leaves a very narrow window of opportunity for filing EB-3 cases.

Due to the backlog, many applicants have looked for alternatives, particularly in the EB-2 category, which is for those individuals with advanced degrees (such as a Master's Degree) or progressive experience in the field. There were some fears that the category would be backlogged as of September, but that is not the case, based on the September Visa Bulletin. However, in that bulletin the DOS indicates that: "The amount of employment demand for applicants from China and India is also likely to result in the oversubscription of the Employment First and Second preference categories for those chargeability areas. The establishment of such cut-off dates is expected to occur no later than December." As a result, we at Subhani & Subhani LLC highly recommend that those planning on using the EB-2 category do so as soon as possible, if an underlying labor certification is available to them. Although we cannot yet predict what the cut-off dates will be, we will continue updating readers as we receive additional information.

For all categories, DOS notes: "The level of demand in the Employment categories is expected to be far in excess of the annual limits, and once established, cut-off date movements are likely to be slow."

Impending Immigration Legislation

Immigration advocates are predicting that a major immigration reform bill will be approved in the next six months. It is believed that the comprehensive immigration reform bill will include both enforcement and benefit provisions. It is unlikely that the House Republicans will succeed in an enforcement-only immigration reform package because of the negative consequences against employers, their primary constituents. More likely is a combination of enforcement and benefit provisions. Whether benefits will be temporary or permanent will depend on how hard the small number of anti-immigration House Republicans will push for a pure enforcement-only bill. The more House Republicans push for an enforcement-only bill in exchange for their votes, the more likely that the House Democrats will be needed to pass the comprehensive immigration reform bill, resulting in more permanent benefit provisions. We will keep readers updated as we receive news on possible benefits of this legislation.

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