Many foreign nationals from India in the EB-2 category waiting to file their employment-based green card applications may have to wait a lot longer now that the latest U.S. State Department Visa Bulletin has retrogressed four years for that category. According to the November bulletin, only those individuals in the EB-2 category with priority dates before February 15, 2005 will be eligible to file their green card (I-485) applications with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) beginning November 1. As of last month, those with priority dates before May 1, 2009 were eligible to file.
A foreign national’s priority date is generally the date when the employer sponsoring the foreign national files a Labor Certification Application on behalf of the employee with the U.S. Department of Labor.
While the past several months saw significant movement forward for the EB-2 category, that movement, as expected, has reversed course. It remains uncertain when there will be significant forward movement again for this category—some do not anticipate such forward movement until June of 2015. The retrogression for those in the EB-2 category from India is in part due to the increasing demand for green cards, including applications filed by many individuals who were in the third employment-based (EB-3) category that have since ported to the EB-2 category in the hopes of getting a green card sooner.
While the EB-2 category in India retrogressed almost four years, the cutoff date for employment-sponsored foreign nationals from India in the EB-3 category barely moved forward. The priority date for individuals in the EB-3 category, which includes professionals with bachelor’s degrees and skilled workers, advanced by only one week this month, from November 15, 2003 to November 22, 2003.
Those in the EB-3 category from China fared better as this category advanced by eight months to January 1, 2010, while those in the EB-2 category from China advanced only three weeks to December 8, 2009.
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.
Due to the large amount of Indian and Chinese 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.
For more information on when individuals seeking permanent residence can file their green card applications with USCIS, please contact an attorney at Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C.