The number of foreign nationals from India who can file employment-based green card applications is likely to increase significantly now that the latest U.S. State Department Visa Bulletin has jumped ahead by nearly four years. Based on the July Visa Bulletin, individuals in the second employment-based (EB-2) category with priority dates before September 1, 2008 will be eligible to file their green card applications with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) beginning July 1st. A sponsored foreign national’s priority date is generally determined when the employer sponsoring the foreign national files a Labor Certification or PERM Application on behalf of the employee with the U.S. Department of Labor.
While last year also saw some movement forward in the EB-2 category, that movement stalled last December and has remained at a standstill since. From December 2013 to June 2014, for example, only those Indian nationals in the EB-2 category with priority dates before November 15, 2004 were eligible to file green card applications.
As a result of the jump in the Visa Bulletin, and depending on how long the movement forward lasts, many more green card applications are expected to be filed and adjudicated by USCIS. This includes the applications filed by many individuals who were in third employment-based (EB-3) category that have since ported to the EB-2 category. In general, employees are eligible for the EB-2 category if the position for which they are being sponsored by their employer requires at least a bachelor’s degree plus five years of experience or a master’s degree.
While the EB-2 category for India moved ahead four years in the July Visa Bulletin, employment sponsored foreign nationals from India in the EB-3 category barely moved forward. The priority date current for individuals in the EB-3 category, which includes professionals with bachelor’s degrees and skilled workers, stands at November 2003 compared with October 15, 2003 in the June 2014 Visa Bulletin.
Due to the large amount of Indian nationals being sponsored for green cards by their employers as well as the limited number of available green cards each year permitted by law, there has been a significant backlog for those seeking to file their green card applications.
Individuals and their family members whose priority dates are now current based on the July 2004 Visa Bulletin, and who eligible to file their I-485 applications with USCIS should contact an attorney at Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C. for assistance.