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October 2018 Visa Bulletin Analysis for Employment-Based (EB) Immigrant Visas

Below is our monthly analysis of the State Department’s Visa Bulletin regarding employment-based immigration. October will see many big changes.

All EB-1 applicants will advance. China and India advanced by four years. El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Philippines, Vietnam and all other areas advanced by 10 months.

For EB-2 category visas, we saw some major advancement. While India and China advanced by over two years, all other areas became current.

For EB-3 visas, EB-3 India advanced by six years. The Philippines and China advanced by eight months. All other areas became current.

EB-4 visas saw some minor advancement. EB-4 Mexico advanced over eight months and India became current.

For EB-5 visas, all areas remain current except for China and Vietnam, which saw their final action dates advance slightly. Vietnam advanced by almost 1.5 years while China advanced by one week.

For applicants seeking to make an adjustment of status, USCIS has noted on its web site that if it determines that there are more immigrant visas available for the fiscal year than there are known applicants, then applicants may use the "Dates for Filing Visa Applications" charts instead of the “Application Final Action Dates” charts. Applicants may check which chart they may use at: All employment-based filings must use the “Application Final Action Dates” charts. All family-based applications may use the "Dates for Filing Visa Applications" charts.

Dates for Final Action (Green Card Approval)

Dates for Final Action - May 2018

Dates for Initial Filing: October

Dates for Initial Filing - May 2018

First Preference Immigrant Workers (EB-1): Priority Workers

The three types of immigrant who qualify as EB-1 workers are “persons with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, or business,” “outstanding professors and researchers,” and “multinational managers or executives.” They are also immediately eligible to petition for permanent residence because no labor certification is required. EB-1 is an exclusive category that provides a straightforward path to citizenship. If you feel you may qualify under any of these, contact us for a review of your case.

Second Preference Immigrant Workers (EB-2): “Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability”

To qualify as an EB-2 worker, one must either hold an advanced degree, a baccalaureate degree with at least five years of “progressive experience” in the field one wishes to enter in the United States, or be considered a “person of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.” Many EB-2 workers have no priority date cutoff. However, the two largest areas, India and mainland China, do.

Third Preference Immigrant Workers (EB-3): “Skilled Workers and Professionals” and “Other Workers”

Third Preference “EB-3” workers are effectively cut into two sub-categories: “Skilled Workers and Professionals,” and “Other Workers.” (For all areas except China, both sub-categories share the same date.**) “Skilled workers” are those that occupy positions that require at least two years of experience or training. "Professionals" must hold a baccalaureate degree or equivalent and be a member of the "professions." 

Certain Special Immigrants (EB-4)

EB-4 is an umbrella category for many disparate and specific sub-categories. They are:

Afghan/Iraqi Translators;Members of the Armed Forces;
Broadcasters;Panama Canal Zone Employees;
Children and Spouses of Deceased NATO-6 employees;Physicians;
Employees of International Organizations;Religious Ministers; and
Iraqis that assisted the United States;Retired NATO-6 employees.

Immigrants that fit any of these descriptions, except for EB-4 Certain Religious Workers, are able to petition for permanent residence without delay (because no labor certification is required). We can determine what applicants stand a good chance of qualifying as an EB-4.

The good news, is that Congress passed legislation last December extending the EB-4 Certain Religious Workers category, and priority dates remain current in this category for all areas.

Employment Creation (EB-5)

This category is for immigrant investors. To qualify in most locations, $1,000,000 must be invested, but in “Target Employment Areas” this is cut by half. (These are rural areas or places with unemployment rates at least 1.5 times the national average according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.) In both cases however, the investment must create or save at least 10 U.S. jobs to ultimately qualify for permanent residence. They can invest directly and run their own businesses, or they can bundle their investments with other EB-5 participants in a zone of businesses through a “regional center.”

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