USCIS announced that in January the agency will accept employment-based adjustment of status applications based on the filing cut-off date instead of the final action cut-off date. This will allow foreign workers to file for adjustment of status if their priority date predates the filing cut-off date. USCIS has a grim view of February, however, and on its website notes that as soon as February 2019, it anticipates to revert back to final action cut-off date. Although USCIS will accept the filing for adjustment of status based on the filing cut-off date, it cannot approve the adjustment of status until the final action cut-off date becomes current.
The backlogged employment-based categories moved by a few days to a few months, but the unconscionable wait for people born in China, Philippines, and especially India, continues. The EB-1 category of priority workers that groups aliens of extraordinary abilities, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational executives and managers, is backlogged for all immigrants. It did inch forward a few days to a few weeks depending on the country of birth. For example, the priority date for India-born priority workers moved from January 1, 2010, to April 1, 2010, which hardly leaves hope that India-born workers will get their green card before retirement age. Our immigration system makes it easier and much faster for unskilled workers born elsewhere to receive a green than India-or-China-born professionals, including doctors, engineers, and even people with extraordinary abilities like Nobel Prize winners.
Applicants whose priority dates are backlogged should monitor the Visa Bulletin every month to ensure that they don’t miss what could often be a small window of opportunity to file for adjustment of status. If your priority date based on the date of filing appears current for your country of birth and category, contact your immigration attorney immediately. The Chicago immigration attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer are also ready to help. Word of caution for all adjustment of status applicants is to continue to maintain their and their derivatives’ valid non-immigrant status.