American fly against blue sky.

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs’ May 2023 Visa Bulletin shows a trend of backlogs and slowdowns in the employment-based immigrant visa or green card process.

The final action dates for multiple categories will again retrogress due to continuing demand in green card applications. Of particular interest, the Employment-Based Third Preference (EB-3) category will see a cutoff date imposed (June 1, 2022) for the “Rest of World,” which includes countries not otherwise listed (i.e., countries other than China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines), a measure that was forecast by the agency in recent visa bulletins. (Previously, the EB-3 category for Rest of World countries had enjoyed being “current” for many years.) Within the EB-3 category, China will advance slightly by several months (from November 1, 2018, to April 1, 2019), India will remain the same (June 15, 2012), and cutoffs will be imposed for Mexico and the Philippines (from current to June 1, 2022).

The EB-2 category will also see slight retrogression for Rest of World (from July 1, 2022, to February 15, 2022), which also applies to Mexico and the Philippines. Also within the EB-2 category, China and India will be held to the same cutoff dates as the prior month (June 8, 2019, and January 1, 2011, respectively), as outlined in the final action dates chart below.

May 2023 Visa Bulletin Chart

Source: U.S. Department of State, May 2023 Visa Bulletin

For May 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has confirmed that it will adopt the above final action dates chart in determining eligibility for filing I-485 adjustment of status applications (as opposed to using the dates for filing chart). The steps taken by the Department of State and USCIS are in response to continuing high demand for green card applications in the EB-2 and EB-3 categories for most countries, including Rest of World, as outlined above, coupled with fewer numbers available this fiscal year in comparison to fiscal years 2021 and 2022. The Department of State will continue to monitor visa application demand and make further adjustments in the coming months.

Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will continue to monitor these and other policy developments 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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