When the President announced immigration executive action in November 2014, the focus was mostly on legalizing millions of undocumented immigrants and most paid little or no attention to the remainder of the announcement, which included “modernizing and streamlining our legal immigration system for the 21st century.”
One of these goals is now coming to fruition with the beginning of fiscal year 2016, on October 1, 2015. Specifically, Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS) in collaboration with the Department of State (DOS) is revising the procedures for determining visa availability for applicants who are subject to visa quota numbers, when they can file for their adjustment of status application when becoming permanent residents. This will apply to both family and employment based immigrant applicants.
Starting with October 2015, the DOS Visa Bulletin will post two rather than one chart per visa preference category:
- Application Final Action Dates (dates when immigrant visas – green cards – may finally be issued); and
- Dates for Filing Applications (earliest dates when applicants may apply for adjustment of status)
This will allow thousands of applicants, whose priority dates are not current, apply for adjustment of status beginning October 1, 2015. An application for adjustment of status will yield employment authorization and inappropriate cases international travel authorization.
You can find the October 2015 Visa Bulletin here and see for yourself that some categories have advanced by years with respect to the filing of adjustment of status applications. There is no question that this streamlining measure will greatly benefit and assist petitioner employers and beneficiary employees make plans for the future.
This is a very important processing change in our immigration laws. Contact your immigration attorney for guidance and opinion how this will impact your business.