Adjustment of Status Filings and Visa Availability
July 2, 2007
We have urgent news to report regarding Adjustment of Status filings.
Employment-Based Visa Numbers Unavailable. Just a couple of hours ago, the US Department of State (DOS) issued an updated July Visa Bulletin showing that visa numbers are unavailable as of today, July 2, 2007, for all employment-based visa categories. This announcement, issued on the first possible day of permitted filing of eligible adjustment of status cases, is in direct contradiction to its Visa Bulletin issued June 14, 2007. As a result, the USCIS just announced that it is following instructions from the DOS and it will reject all applications even if they are filed today.
We believe the DOS' and USCIS's actions today are contrary to existing regulations and policy. We are undertaking advocacy at the highest levels. Our national trade associations as well as professional trade associations are analyzing potential legal action.
What does this mean for AOS cases filed by our office pursuant to the DOS' June Visa Bulletin (issued mid May, 2007)? We believe these cases should be receipted in, and applicants issued employment authorization and advance paroles as requested in the original application packages, and that applicants should be able to obtain continued work authorization throughout the process. Once their priority dates become current again, the USCIS should resume adjudicating these cases. As we advised previously, visa numbers must be available as of the date of final adjudication, so with visa retrogression, cases may take additional years to reach final adjudication, depending on the visa preference category and nationality.
October 1 availability of visa numbers. It is possible that many visa categories will become current again on October 1, the start of the government's new fiscal year, for at least certain preference categories and nationalities. We will continue to advise on ramifications for applications filed and the circumstances under which we may resubmit them.
What does this mean for your employees for whom we have filed, or are currently preparing to file, adjustment of status application packages under the original July Visa Bulletin (issued mid June 2007)? These cases have been targeted for filing throughout the month of July as represented would be permissible by our government both in announcements this spring and national liaison meetings in June. We will discuss with you individual case strategies to continue to file these cases in July as we obtain further developments. Filing and receiving a "rejection" potentially may provide us with legal recourse later. We will keep you informed of developments and will notify you when the application package and applicable filing fees are returned.
Assistance in managing employees during this difficult time. We advise you to forward this e-mail to affected foreign national employees and schedule meetings as appropriate to assure them that everything has and will continue to be done to protect their ability to move through the immigration process and adjust status as soon as is permitted.
We hope that this up-to-date information, while disturbing, is helpful. We will be in touch soon regarding our client companies contacting appropriate Congressional representatives with liaisons to the DOS and USCIS as well as other opportunities to voice our concerns to the government.