Department of State September 2018 Visa Bulletin Summary

The Department of State has released the September 2018 Visa Bulletin.  D&S provides a Monthly Summary of the family and employment-based priority dates.  

EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Worldwide will no longer be current in September, retrogressing to June 1, 2016, January 1, 2013, and November 1, 2016 respectively. They are expected to become progress or become current again at the start of the new fiscal year in October.  EB-1 China remains unchanged, EB-2 China retrogressed more than 2 years to January 1, 2013, and EB-3 China progressed 4 months to November 1, 2014. EB-1 India remained unchanged, EB-2 India retrogressed more than 2 years to January 1, 2007, and EB-3 India retrogressed 6 years to January 1, 2003.  EB-5 regional center and non-regional center filings remain current except for China and Vietnam, both of which progressed one week to April 8, 2014.

Application Filing Dates remain unchanged across all areas of chargeability for September 2018, with exception of F2B Worldwide, China and India, which progressed over 2 years from January 8, 2012 to March 22, 2014.

As of today, August 9, 2018, USCIS has not advised whether, in September 2018, it will accept adjustment of status applications for family and employment-based petitions based on final action dates or application filing dates.

 

DHS Announces New Proposed Rule on EB-5 Modernization That Would Significantly Increase the Minimum Investment Amounts

Today the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released an advance copy of their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking entitled “EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization.” The proposed regulation looks to make several significant changes to the EB-5 program, most notably a significant increase in the minimum investment amounts.  The principal proposed changes would impact both regional center and direct investments.

Read More

DHS Releases Notice of Possible Regulatory Updates to EB-5 Regional Center Program

Today the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published an early notice of possible regulatory changes to the EB-5 regional center program, seeking public comment on proposed updates to regional center monitoring, reporting, and termination.  The rule is entitled, “Improvement of the Employment Creation Immigrant Regulations.”

Read More

AILA Releases Practices Pointers Following I-526 NOID in EB-5 Case

This week the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) released Practice Pointers for individuals seeking to file for a green card under the EB-5 Program.  The Practices Pointers come as a result of a recent Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) issued to an EB-5 investor, which confirms prior agency statements indicating that they will review data from other agencies, including Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Department of State (DOS), the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), the Department of Commerce (DOC), and other law enforcement agencies, to verify representations made in the I-526 and I-829 petitions.

Read More

Department of State March 2016 Visa Bulletin Summary

The Department of State released the March 2016 Visa Bulletin this week.  D&S provides a Monthly Summary of the family and employment-based priority dates.  For the employment-based preference category, there was forward movement in the Final Action date for EB-2 India, which advanced 2.5 months from August 1, 2008 to October 15, 2008.  The Final Action date for EB-3 India progressed just one month to July 15, 2004.  There was forward movement in both the Filing dates and the Final Action dates for EB-2 and EB-3 China.  For EB-2 China, the Filing date progressed 5 months from January 1, 2013 to June 1, 2013 and the Final Action date progressed 5 months from March 1, 2012 to August 1, 2012.  For EB-3 China the Filing date progressed 1 year and 7 months from October 1, 2013 to May 1, 2015 and the Final Action date progressed 8 months from October 1, 2012 to June 1, 2013.  Moreover, the Filing dates for EB-3 Worldwide and EB-3 Mexico will be current and the Final Action dates will progress 3 months from October 1, 2015 to January 1, 2016. EB-5 China Final Action Dates advanced by just 7 days from January 15, 2014 to January 22, 2014.  As of today, February 9, 2016, USCIS has not advised whether in March 2016, it will accept adjustment of status applications for family or employment-based petitions based on filing dates, rather than final action dates. USCIS anticipates that this information will be released within one week of the monthly Visa Bulletin.

 

Department of State February 2016 Visa Bulletin Summary

The Department of State released the February 2016 Visa Bulletin today.  D&S provides a Monthly Summary of the family and employment-based priority dates.  This month, there was no forward movement in any employment-based or family-based Filing Dates.  For the employment-based preference category Final Action Dates, there was forward movement for EB-2 India, which advanced 5 months from February 1, 2008 to August 1, 2008.  EB-2 China advanced one month from February 1, 2012 to March 1, 2012. EB-3 Worldwide and Mexico remained unchanged and EB-3 China, India, and the Philippines all saw forward movement of between 1 and 3 months. EB-5 China Final Action Dates advanced by just 7 days from January 8, 2014 to January 15, 2014.  As of today, January 8, 2016, USCIS has not advised whether in February 2016, it will accept adjustment of status applications for family or employment-based petitions based on filing dates, rather than final action dates. USCIS anticipates that this information will be released within one week of the monthly Visa Bulletin.

D&S Legislative Update: Omnibus Spending Bill Passed by the House, Up for Vote in the Senate

In the late hours of Tuesday evening, December 15, 2015, after days of intense negotiations, Congressional leadership announced that it has reached a sweeping year-end deal on the omnibus federal spending bill needed to continue to fund the Federal government. This announcement follows the five-day continuing resolution passed by Congress on December 10, 2015, to allow for additional time for the omnibus federal spending bill to be finalized and avoid a government shutdown.

On Thursday, December 17, 2015, the House passed the spending bill by a vote of 318 to 109.  The Senate is expected to vote on and pass the bill on Friday, December 18, 2015.  The omnibus appropriations bill contains a recommendation to extend the EB-5 program in its current form through September 30, 2016, without the widely discussed changes to the minimum investment amounts or the definition of Targeted Employment Area (TEA).  In addition to extending the EB-5 program, the bill will also extend other expiring immigration programs, including the E-verify program, Conrad 30 waivers for J-1 medical workers, and R-1 visas for religious workers. Finally, the bill contains reforms to the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), including the requirement that program users have electronic passports with biometric and biographic information and restricting use of the program for certain individuals who have traveled to Iraq, Sudan, Iran and Syria.

UPDATE: On Friday, December 18, 2015, the U.S. Senate approved the spending bill by a vote of 65 to 33. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law no later than December 18th.

Senate Approves Five-Day Funding Measure to Prevent Government Shutdown at Midnight

On December 10, 2015, the Senate unanimously approved a five-day funding measure to prevent a government shutdown at midnight tonight.  This extension is in addition to the Temporary Spending Measures passed by Congress on September 30, 2015 to prevent a government shutdown starting October 1, 2015.  If passed, the extension would give Congress until December 16, 2015 to pass a comprehensive $1.1 trillion spending package.

According to numerous reports, today the House is expected to vote on and pass the measure and President Obama is expected to sign the short-term continuing resolution into law, thus avoiding the shutdown at midnight. Once passed, the short-term continuing resolution will also extend EB-5, Conrad 30, Special Religious Workers, and E-Verify for five additional days. Several experts have indicated that Congress is close to passing the omnibus federal spending bill.

D&S will continue to monitor this developing situation and provide timely updates.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE SEPTEMBER 2015 VISA BULLETIN SUMMARY

The Department of State released the September 2015 Visa Bulletin today.  D&S provides a monthly Summary of the family and employment based priority dates.  This month, there was forward movement in most family-based and employment-based visa categories with the exception of EB-2 India and China, both of which retrogressed to January 1, 2006 (a retrogression of almost 3 years for EB-2 India and almost 8 years for EB-2 China).  EB-3 India and China both progressed over 6 months from June 1, 2004 to December 22, 2004.  EB-5 China, which retrogressed for the first time in June 2015, experienced a moderate progression from September 1, 2013 to September 22, 2013.  

USCIS Issues Draft EB-5 Policy Guidance In Wake of EB-5 Priority Date Retrogression

USCIS issued a Draft Policy Memorandum today, August 10, 2015, in anticipation of continuing issues regarding visa availability in the wake of the August 2014 retrogression of EB-5 visas for nationals of mainland China, which marked the first time in the history of the EB-5 Program that demand for visas exceeded availability.  Because EB-5 China retrogression is anticipated to extend into the foreseeable future, the Draft Memo provides additional guidance for two EB-5 eligibility grounds that may be affected by visa retrogression, namely, (1) the job creation requirement and (2) the requirement to sustain the investment during the conditional residence period. While doing little to change the actual policies in place regarding job creation and the sustained, at risk investment requirements, the Draft Memo does provide some examples of how investors may comply with these requirements even in the face of visa retrogression.

Read More