On July 20, 2021 – The department of state replied to a question about EB3 India dates progress in Oct 2021 bulletin and confirmed that they may wait until November 2021 visa bulletin to see if this law is passed to make adjustments to the visa bulletin movement.
This is a screenshot of the discussion happening on Charles Oppenheim’s Aug bulletin YouTube video.
The DOS is referring to the House committee appropriations bill which was passed by voice vote earlier in July.
This bill aims to preserve the GC numbers even if the fiscal year (2020 and 2021) end for employment-based, family-based, and Diversity visa lottery among other provisions.
This will spoil the employment-based Green card chances for Indians if passed by Senate too.
- Bad News: This means that the unused numbers will not spillover from family based to employment based in Oct 2021 which were expected to be in the range of 150k+ and would have benefitted Indians. This will be a big dent in Indian’s aspirations.
- Good News: The current spillover of 122k received by EB category in Oct 2020 (fiscal year 2021) should be preserved after Sep 2021. This means that even if USCIS does not use the full spillover, the numbers will not be lost and hence will be used in 2022 to approve pending i485 applications.
DHS’s Charles Oppenheim had shared in his July 2021 video chat that USCIS may waste a large number of green card numbers from the Oct 2020 FB to EB spillover due to limited processing capacity.
Now the House committee has extended a helping hand but taken away the benefit from another hand.
Many Indians and Chinese would have filed EB2 to EB3 downgrade in Oct 2020 after the ‘dates of filing’ were moved ahead quickly in the visa bulletin.
Chances of Passing?
The chances of this bill passing Senate are quite low and in our opinion less than 20%.
A similar attempt was made by Democrats in 2020 too to hold the family-based GC numbers from spilling over to employment-based but it did not pass the Senate and spillover did happen eventually.
Will VB Dates Retrogress?
It is not clear at this time if the spillover that already happened in Oct 2020 will be reversed or will be maintained as part of the employment-based queue.
But, assuming that it cannot be reversed, it should be used to approve the pending i485s and the visa bulletin movements should be preserved even if it becomes a law.
Nothing concrete can be said until this bill is actually signed by president Biden but
- We do not expect Charles Oppenheim to hold on the visa bulletin dates just on the basis of this bill moving through the House.
- On the other hand, if the VB is moved further from current dates and then there is no spillover to EB in Oct 2021, the dates will most probably retrogress starting fiscal year 2022.
USCIS i485 Processing Data
The USCIS Jan to Mar 2021 i485 approval data is not encouraging due to the extremely low number of employment-based Green card approvals in the first half of the fiscal year. USCIS will have to make efforts equal to climbing Mt. Everest if they want to avoid wastage.
The July 2021 visa bulletin took long jumps and the chances are very high that the August visa bulletin will see similar jumps to catch up with the ‘Date of Filing’ Chart.
Interestingly, Charles has moved the dates in both EB2 and EB3 India DOF charts but USCIS is still not ready to accept the new i485 under this chart. We estimate that they will open it up in Oct 2021.