Processing Updates

Employment-Based Adjustment of Status Applications are now filed directly with the Immigration Service's regional service centers in most jurisdictions, rather than with the local offices (effective November 29, 1996). The implementation of these new processing procedures is causing significant delays in the adjudication of applications. It is too soon to tell how effective the "streamlined" processing procedures will be, but we are hopeful that they will reduce processing times in the long run.

A Backlog of Immigrant Visa Numbers has recently occurred for Indian nationals in the second and third employment-based preference categories. Many Indian nationals are now joining Philippine nationals (who have a backlog in the third employment-based preference category) to wait for limited visa numbers, which are allocated by preference category with no more than 7% of available numbers going to any individual nationality. There is a possibility that worldwide availability, at least in the third preference employment-based category, will have a backlog before the fiscal year is over on September 30, 1997.

Delays in Labor Certification Application Processing are being caused by significant procedural changes that the Department of Labor is implementing. Major staff reductions, due to budget cuts of nearly 50% for many offices around the country, are also plaguing the labor certification adjudication process, and are expected to cause further slowing in processing times.

65,000 Annual Cap on H-1B Nonimmigrant Worker Petitions may be reached prior to the September 30, 1997 end of the fiscal year.If the cap is reached, the Immigration Service will place a hold on the adjudication of H-1B petitions until the start of the new fiscal year in October. Petitions should be filed as early as possible when circumstances permit, to ensure complete adjudication of the petitions.