This week, the Department of State released the Visa Bulletin for September 2016. Given that visa numbers are issued based on the government fiscal year, we expect to see significant movement again in October 2016; for September 2016, the last month of FY2016, there were only minor changes with regard to movement of final action dates in most of the employment-based categories from the August 2016 Visa Bulletin:
- The Worldwide EB-1 category remains current, but for individuals born in India and Mainland China, there continues to be a cutoff date in the EB-1 category of Jan. 1, 2010 (a change implemented in the August 2016 Visa Bulletin).
- The cutoff date for Worldwide chargeability in the EB-2 category is still Feb. 1, 2014, but it is likely to return to current in October 2016 at the start of FY2017. The cutoff date for Mainland China remained constant at Jan. 1, 2010. However, there was significant movement in the EB-2 category for India, which moved forward from Nov. 15, 2004, to Feb. 22, 2005.
- In the EB-3 category, the cutoff date for Worldwide chargeability, as well as El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico moved more than a year (from March 15, 2016 to May 1, 2016). The cutoff date for Mainland China stayed constant at Jan. 1, 2010. However, the cutoff date for India in the EB-3 category advanced several months from Nov. 8, 2004, to Feb. 15, 2005, and the cutoff date for the Philippines moved over a year from May 15, 2009, to July 1, 2010.
- For those in the EB-5 category, the priority date remains current for all applicants other than those born in Mainland China, which maintains a cutoff date of Feb. 15, 2014.
With regards to those seeking to file applications for adjustment of status, the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) website indicates that the “Final Action Dates” chart for employment-based applications must be used in determining when an applicant is eligible to file Form I-485.
The September 2016 Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Categories are as follows:
Finally, the Department of State also determined the Family and Employment preference numerical limits for FY2016, as outlined in Section 201(c) and (d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) as follows:
Worldwide Family-Sponsored preference limit: 226,000
Worldwide Employment-Based preference limit: 140,338
The per-country limit is fixed at 7 percent of the combined annual limits or 25,644 for FY2016. The dependent area annual limit is fixed at 2 percent of the combined annual limits or 7,327 for FY2016.