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Detrimental Changes to October Visa Bulletin

On September 25, 2015, the DOS published an updated Visa Bulletin for October 2015 that supersedes the October bulletin originally published on September 9. In a statement announcing the change, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explained that following consultations with the Department of Homeland Security, the dates for filing applications for some categories in the family-sponsored and employment-based preferences were adjusted “to better reflect a timeframe justifying immediate action in the application process.” The new filing dates translate to longer filing wait-times.

The issuance of the revised October Visa Bulletin resulting in the backlog is a direct result of the USCIS’ huge miscalculation in determining visa availability. Below are a few examples of the extreme changes in the revised October Visa Bulletin:

* EB2 China: Moved from 5/1/2014 to 1/1/2013 (1 year 5 months)

* EB2 India: Moved from 7/1/2011 to 7/1/2009 (2 years)

* EB3 Philippines: Moved from 1/1/2015 to 1/1/2010 (5 years)

* FB1 Mexico: Moved from 7/1/1995 to 4/1/1995 (3 months)

* FB3 Mexico: Moved from 10/1/1996 to 5/1/1995 (1 year 5 months)

The fallout is that many individuals and families who anticipated filing in October may no longer be eligible and could continue to face lengthy waits before they can submit their applications for permanent residence. The U.S. Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and several government officials now face a class action filed in Washington federal court Monday over the “abrupt” changes to October’s visa bulletin. Plaintiffs claiming class membership could number in the thousands.

We will monitor this topic and post additional guidance in the Breaking News section of our website and on our Facebook page. Should you have questions on how this topic may affect you, your family, or friends, please contact the attorney assisting with your case or schedule a consultation here.

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