The Visa Bulletin is a monthly publication released by the U.S. Department of State that provides information on the availability of immigrant visa numbers.
The Visa Bulletin is important because it determines when foreign nationals can apply for a green card based on their employment or family-sponsored preference category and priority date.
Effect on EB-3
EB-3 is an employment-based visa category that is designed for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers. The EB-3 visa requires a job offer from a U.S. employer and a labor certification from the Department of Labor.
The priority date is the date when the labor certification was filed, and it is used to determine when a foreign national can apply for a green card.
The availability of immigrant visa numbers for the EB-3 category varies depending on the demand and supply of visas. The visa bulletin provides information on the cutoff dates for each preference category, indicating when a foreign national can apply for a green card.
In summary, the visa bulletin is a critical resource for foreign nationals seeking to immigrate to the United States. It provides information on the availability of immigrant visa numbers, which determine when foreign nationals can apply for a green card.
The EB-3 visa category is one of the employment-based visa categories that require a job offer from a U.S. employer and a labor certification from the Department of Labor.
In immigration filings, the priority date is the date when a foreign national’s immigrant visa petition was filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or with the Department of Labor for certain employment-based petitions.
The priority date is used to determine the foreign national’s place in line for the limited number of immigrant visas that are available each year. The priority date is crucial in family-sponsored and employment-based immigration cases, where there are more applicants than the number of available immigrant visas.
The priority date establishes a foreign national’s place in the visa queue, which can determine when they are eligible to apply for adjustment of status (if they are already in the United States) or when they can apply for an immigrant visa abroad (if they are outside the United States).
In family-sponsored immigration, the priority date is usually the date when the Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, was properly filed with USCIS.
In employment-based immigration, the priority date is the date when the labor certification was filed with the Department of Labor or when the Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, was filed with USCIS.
Once the priority date becomes current, the foreign national can apply for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status. The priority dates are published in the monthly visa bulletin by the Department of State, and they can change from month to month based on the demand and availability of visas.
May 2023 Visa Bulletin & Analysis
Recently, the Department of State issued the May 2023 Visa Bulletin, which contains important information on immigrant visa availability for applicants seeking green cards or permanent residency.
The Visa Bulletin includes two tables: Table A, which lists the final action dates, and Table B, which lists the dates of filing.
For I-485 employment-based filings, USCIS is expected to use Table A’s final action dates chart, and a beneficiary must have a current priority date to file their I-485 adjustment of status application.
Our VisaMadeEZ legal analysis reveals that in May 2023, the Visa Bulletin has retrogressed the Philippines and worldwide EB-3 categories to June 1, 2023, meaning that only applicants with a priority date before June 1, 2023, will be eligible for a visa appointment. Experts predict that this date is unlikely to progress before October 1, 2023, when the next Visa Bulletin is expected to be released.
However, a more positive outlook projects it could be by August instead. On another positive note, China EB-3 advanced by five months to April 1, 2019, while China EB-2, India EB-3, and India EB-3 remained unchanged.
Meanwhile, Philippine and ROW EB-3 Other Workers, which includes occupations such as Nurse Aides, remained retrogressed but held steady in January 2020.
Past Retrogression Statistics & History
According to the historical visa bulletin data published by the Department of State, the EB-3 category for the Philippines last retrogressed in June 2021, and it remained retrogressed until November 2021, for a period of five months.
During that time, the final action date for EB-3 Philippines was June 1, 2019. The final action date for EB-3 Philippines advanced to April 1, 2022, in the April 2022 visa bulletin and remained unchanged until the May 2023 Visa Bulletin when it retrogressed back to June 1, 2023.