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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

Rapid Movement In Employment Visa Number

by Cyrus D. Mehta

The latest State Department visa bulletin for March 2006,
http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/bulletin/bulletin_2805.html, indicates rapid movement in the employment-based preferences, which had retrogressed considerably on October 1, 2005. The reason for the retrogression was due to the much anticipated demand for visa numbers, especially for China and India, because of the large number of labor certification applications pending with the Department of Labor (DOL).

Between February and March 2006, the Employment-based First Preference (EB-1) for China and India have moved from January 1, 2003 and February 1, 2004 to July 1, 2003 and July 1, 2004 respectively.

In the Employment-based Second Preference (EB-2), China moved from April 1, 2002 to July 1, 2002 and India moved from August 1, 2001 to January 1, 2002.

In the Employment-based Third Preference (EB-3), the worldwide cut off date has moved to May 1, 2001. This is a positive development as the cut-off date has moved beyond April 30, 2001, which was the last date when thousands of people filed labor certification applications before the sunset of Section 245(i). The India EB-3 moved from January 1, 2000 to January 1, 2001 in March 2006. Mexico and Philippines are now at March 22, 2001 and May 1, 2001 respectively.

The Other Worker category (Unskilled) in the EB-3 preference still remains stuck at October 1, 2001.

The reason for this advancement is because the DOL has not processed labor certifications to completion, especially those filed before the Section 245(i) deadline. Hence, the State Department has decided to rapidly advance the cut-off dates especially for China and India, due to the fact that the DOL has not processed all the labor certifications in its backlogs and it does not want to be in a position when there are large amounts of numbers available for use in the latter part of the fiscal year and not enough time to make use of them.

However, if the DOL does indeed start approving labor certification applications in the thousands, and people then file immigrant visa petitions, the Department of State will then be forced to slow down the movement or retrogress the dates.

Interestingly, this firm is beginning to see a lot of “Selection of Continuation Option Letters” being issued by the DOL with respect to whether an employer wishes to continue a labor certification application pending in the Backlog Elimination Center or not. Shortly after the employer opts to continue the application, many labor certification applications are being approved by the Backlog Elimination Centers.

This article originally appeared on http://www.cyrusmehta.com on February 10, 2006.


About The Author

Cyrus Mehta, a graduate of Cambridge University and Columbia Law School, practices immigration law in New York City and is the managing member of Cyrus D. Mehta & Associates, P.L.L.C. He is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the American Immigration Law Foundation and recipient of the 1997 Joseph Minsky Young Lawyers Award. He is also Secretary of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and former Chair of the Committee on Immigration and Nationality Law of the same Association. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of ABCNY or AILF. He frequently lectures on various immigration subjects at legal seminars, workshops and universities and may be contacted in New York at 212-425-0555.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.


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