02 Oct October, 2020 Visa Bulletin Released – Rapid Advancement for Most Employment-Based Categories
Washington, D.C. – September 29, 2020: The U.S. Department of State recently published the much-anticipated monthly Visa Bulletin for October, 2020.
Employment Based Green Cards:
The U.S. Department of State concluded its calculations of the employment-based immigrant visa annual limit for FY 2021, which is anticipated to be 261,500, an all-time high.
The October, 2020 Visa Bulletin shows rapid advancement in the final action dates and dates for filing of all of the EB categories that were not already current, with the exception of the EB-5 categories.
A slowdown in family-based immigrant visa processing in FY 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reduced consular operations, issuance of Presidential Proclamation 10014 (PP 10014), which suspends the entry of certain immigrants, and other country-specific travel bans have all contributed to the much higher employment-based limit in FY 2021. As a result, advancements in many employment-based categories are anticipated in the coming months, as detailed below.
Significantly, USCIS has confirmed that individuals filing for adjustment of status in October of 2020 must use the Dates for Filing Chart (“Chart B”). This information is provided by USCIS on a monthly basis on their website here: https://www.uscis.gov/visabulletininfo
Employment Visa Availability in the Coming Months:
The October, 2020 Visa Bulletin also provides projections for immigrant visa availability through January 2021. The Department predicts the following potential monthly cut-off date movements:
EB-1: Remain current for all countries except India and China. Rapid forward movement for India and China.
EB-2: Remain current for all countries except India and China. Rapid forward movement for India and China.
EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers: Remain current for all countries except India and China. Rapid forward movement for India and China.
EB-5: Remain current for all countries except China and Vietnam. No forward movement for China and limited forward movement for Vietnam.
Family-Based Green Cards
In the family-based green card categories, the October, 2020 Visa Bulletin confirms modest movement forward for all countries in the F-1 Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens Category. The October, 2020 Visa Bulletin also reports that green cards by Lawful Permanent Residents for their spouses and children under age 21 remains current. This category, however, is impacted by the President’s 60-day suspension of immigration to the U.S. for individuals applying for green cards outside the U.S. via consular processing.
The U.S. Department of State anticipates that the F-1 category will either stay the same or advance up to three weeks per month. F2-A is expected to remain current. F2-B is expected to either remain the same or advance at a rate of up to three weeks per month. F-3 is expected to either remain the same or advance at a rate of up to two weeks per month; and F-4 is expected to either remain the same or advance at a rate of up to one week per month.
President Trump’s proclamation temporarily suspending the entry of certain immigrants was extended on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, through December 31, 2020 and may be continued or modified as necessary. This proclamation will continue limit the issuance of certain immigrant visas by U.S. consulates abroad.
Notably, on October a federal court issued an injunction that bars the President from suspending the issuance of new temporary work visas to the US in the L1A, L1B and H1B classifications.
The President’s order, issued in June, effectively shut down the most commonly used US temporary work visa programs until December 31, 2020, at the earliest.
Unfortunately, US Consulates abroad remain closed or on minimal operations due to the COVID19 pandemic. Obtaining visa appointment at US Consulates abroad has become a huge cause for delay in US visa processing throughout the world. Thus, the federal court’s decision may not have immediate impact.
Donoso & Partners, a leading immigration law firm based in Washington, D.C., will continue to report on developments regarding the immigration law and policy through our news section of donosolaw.com.