October 2009 visa bulletin – the first for FY 2010 – was released today by the Department of State.
Employment-Based Second Preference
EB-2 China advanced only two months to March 22, 2005, while India inched ahead to January 22, 2005. Although dissappointing, we still may see quite a few I-485 approvals for applicants with a 2004 or early 2005 priority date. As widely reported, these cases should have been pre-adjudicated by USCIS and are in line to receive the first batch of visa numbers for the new fiscal year.
EB2 ROW (Rest of the World), Mexico and Philippines continue to remain current for October 2009.
Employment-Based Third Preference
After a five-month shutdown, all EB3 categories have visa numbers available for October, but retrogression is still severe across the board. Cutoff dates are set to either 2002 or even 2001. We had hoped that it would be at least 2003, at least for some categories under EB3. Now we have to wait for the November visa bulletin for that to happen.
Employment-Based Forth Preference
EB-4 became current, as expected. However, EB4 Religious Worker category remains unavailable, and here is DOS’ explanation:
Employment Fourth Preference Certain Religious Workers: Pursuant to Section 1 of Public Law 111-9, the non-minister special immigrant program expires on September 30, 2009. No SR-1, SR-2, or SR-3 visas may be issued overseas on or after September 30, 2009. Visas issued prior to this date will only be issued with a validity date of September 30, 2009, and all individuals seeking admission as a non-minister special immigrant must be admitted (repeat, admitted) into the U.S. no later than midnight September 30, 2009.
Employment-Based Fifth Preference
EB5 categories for Investors and Regional Centers remain current, but EB5 Pilot Program is facing expiration date of 09/30/2009:
Employment Fifth Preference Pilot Categories(I5, R5): Section 101 of Division J of the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009, extended this immigrant investor pilot program through September 30, 2009. The I5 and R5 visas may be issued until close of business on September 30, 2009, and may be issued for the full validity period. No I5-1, I5-2, I5-3, R5-1, R5-2 or R5-3 visas may be issued after September 30, 2009.
If Congress acts to extend one or both programs mentioned above, their cutoff dates would immediately change to “current” for October.