Updated: May 31, 2021
The US State Department has just released the Visa Bulletin for June 2021. According to the Visa Bulletin’s “Final Action Dates” chart, USCIS (the US Citizenship and Immigration Services) will be accepting Forms I-485 (employment-based) and applications for registering permanent residence or adjusting status from next month.
The United States Department of State is continuing its popular “Chats with Charlie” YouTube videos, in which Charlie Oppenheim, Chief of Visa Control and Reporting Division of the US State Dept, discusses each month’s Visa Bulletin. In the past, he has predicted changes inf about priority date cut-offs. The latest live chat with Charlie Oppenheim discussed the June Visa Bulletin; it was released on May 25, 2021.
Every month, the Visa Bulletin released by the US State Department indicates the number of visas limited by statute available to potential immigrants. Eligibility to file a Form I-485 application in any given month depends on which chart USCIS is applying and the cut-off dates given in the Visa Bulletin. The relevant Final Action Dates chart in the Visa Bulletin dictates whether USCIS will approve a Form I-485 application.
On the latest “Chats with Charlie” video, Charlie Oppenheim predicts that the annual limit on employment-based visas will increase to a minimum of 290,000 for the coming Fiscal Year (2022) and that preference dates for employment-based visas will advance rapidly for the rest of this fiscal year and into 2022, thanks to this increased numerical limit.
According to the chart for Final Action Dates regarding employment-based immigrant visas under the June 2021 Visa Bulletin, cut-off dates for various visa categories will be:
EB-1: India, the People’s Republic of China (China), and all other countries of chargeability will remain current.
EB-2: All countries of chargeability excepting China and India will stay as they are. The cut-off date for India is advancing by four months, to December 1, 2010, while the cut-off date for China is changing to May 1, 2017, an advance of five months.
EB-3, the category for professionals and skilled workers: China is advancing by three months, 15 days to September 1, 2018, while India is advancing by nine months to November 1, 2011. The cut-off dates for all other countries of chargeability will remain current.
EB-3, “other workers”: the cut-off date for China is advancing by two months to October 1, 2009, while India’s cut-off date is moving ahead by nine months to November 1, 2011. All other countries of chargeability remain current.
EB-4: Mexico is moving forward by seven months, to November 1, 2019. El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are advancing by two months to November 1, 2018. Other countries of chargeability remain current.
EB-5: All countries of chargeability, with the exception of China and Vietnam, remain current. China is moving forward by one month to September 15, 2015, and the cut-off date for Vietnam is advancing by two months to April 15, 2018.
On May 13, 2021, DOL (the US Department of Labor) announced they were delaying a change in regulations aimed at increasing the wages of workers with H-1B, H-1B1, or E-3 nonimmigrant visas. The changes will be postponed until November 2022 and will push back the period of transition to new prevailing wage requirements from July 2021 to January 2023.
A reason given for delaying the implementation of the new regulation is to allow DOL more time to consider policy and legal issues arising from the proposed change. In addition, DOL will provide members of the public with the chance to comment further on the changes.
The minimum wages paid by the employers of workers in the H-1B, H-1B1, or E-3 nonimmigrant visa categories will be increased significantly. If employers cannot meet the higher wages or find alternative sources of wages, the number of PERM program employees could be limited.
The DOL plans to raise prevailing wages in phases, with annual increases from January 2023, with the final rise in January 2026. This is the current schedule, but DOL may change it in response to public comments and the department’s internal reviews of the complex issues involved.