U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has confirmed that it will accept employment-based I-485, adjustment of status applications, based on the U.S. Department of State's monthly Visa Bulletin's "Dates for Filing" visa applications chart. The most recent chart is included in the March 2023 Visa Bulletin.

Employment-Based Categories Remain Unchanged Since January 2023

The January 2023 Visa Bulletin demonstrated retrogression in various categories in both Dates for Filing (DFF) and Final Action Dates (FAD).

The State Department said in the December 2022 Visa Bulletin that it expected retrogression in the January 2023 Visa Bulletin in the employment-based first preference (EB-1) category for both India and China due to the increased demand and numbers for fiscal year (FY) 2022. Unsurprisingly, the DFF chart for China and India retrogressed to June 2022 in the EB-1 category after several years without retrogressing. Similarly, the FAD EB-1 for China and India retrogressed to November 2022.

The State Department also said in the December 2022 Visa Bulletin that it would continue to monitor available numbers and make adjustments to the Visa Bulletin in the coming months, if numbers became available. Visa numbers remained unchanged at the end of the second quarter of the fiscal year, as demonstrated by the issuance of the March 2023 visa bulletin.

Additional Insights

The State Department anticipates retrogression in the employment-based second preference (EB-2) category for all countries (including India and China) in the coming months, due to a "higher than expected number [of] use and demand" in the EB-2 category. The State Department noted that "corrective action" would be necessary "to hold number use within the maximum allowed under the Fiscal Year 2023 annual limit."

In addition, retrogression in the employment-based third preference (EB-3) category worldwide FAD (including Mexico and Philippines) may also be required to stay within the annual limit due to increased demand in the EB-3 category.

The State Department projected 197,000 employment-based green card numbers available for FY 2023.

Ogletree Deakins' Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor developments with respect to these and other policy changes and will post updates on the Immigration blog as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm's webinar and podcast programs.

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