US EB2 visa cut off date moved back to August 2007 for Indian and Chinese

As expected, the US Department of State (DOS) has confirmed that employment based EB2 visas priority date have retrogressed and moved back to 15 August 2007, from May 01, 2010 for Indian and Chinese nationals.

The DOS will not issue any new visas to applicants from these areas with priority dates after 15 August 2007. Visa applications received after this date will have to wait for the cut off date to become current. This also means that processing of visas could now take years longer for Indian and Chinese applicants.

It was earlier speculated in the April 2012 DOS visa bulletin that the employment based immigration cut off date would move back to August 2007. It has now been confirmed that the cut off date has moved back to August 2007 in the recently published DOS Visa Bulletin for May 2012. Meanwhile, the EB2 numbers for other countries remained the same, along with EB-1, EB-4, and EB-5 numbers for all countries.

In the EB-3 category, the priority dates for professionals and skilled workers advanced from March 2005 to April 2005 for Chinese nationals, from 01 September 2002 to 08 September 2002 for Indians, and from 8 April 2006 to 1 May 2006 for all other countries.

Employment based immigration priority dates determine when a foreign national will be able to have their application to obtain their green card processed. A priority date is the date an application is initially filed in the green card process. The cut off priority date affects both applications made in the US and outside the US. Processing of a visa can start if the immigrant's priority date is earlier than the cutoff date listed in the most recent Visa Bulletin.

All applications received with EB2 priority dates after August 15, 2007 will be forwarded to Visa Control at the DOS to be held in a "Pending" file until new visas become available. The cut off date is not expected to change until the start of the Fiscal Year 2013 beginning on 1 October 2012.

A bill is currently awaiting debate in the US Senate called The Fairness for High-Skilled Immigration Act. The bill would eliminate the percentage quota for large countries such as India and China and place them in the same worldwide waiting period as applicants from other countries. This is good news for those from China and India, as it is expected to considerably shorten their backlogs if passed.

If you have any further questions about how employment based immigration priority dates work, you can consult our previous news report detailing DOS' procedures in processing EB-2 applications.

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