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Immigration News - June 28, 2007

June 28, 2007

By Immigration Practice Group

July Adjustment of Status Filings May Be At Risk

Recent rumors have called into question the accuracy of the Department of State's July 2007 Visa Bulletin, which announced that all employment-based categories, with the exception of the "Other Workers" category, will be "current" (i.e. immigrant visa numbers will be available) as of July 1, 2007. These rumors have suggested that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may potentially, notwithstanding the July Visa Bulletin, not accept adjustment of status filings for all, or a part, of July.

Fueling concern over this possibility is the fact that, during June, USCIS took the unprecedented step of refusing to accept adjustment applications in the third preference "Other Workers" category filed after June 6, even though the bulletin showed numbers available throughout the month. USCIS took this step evidently after receiving notice from the State Department, outside the visa bulletin process, that the available numbers had been exhausted. There are strong legal reasons supporting the argument that this action by USCIS was improper. Nevertheless, the fear is that USCIS will take a similar step with respect to all or some employment-based adjustment of status filings made during July.

The widespread belief among immigration experts is that, even if USCIS accepts all employment-based adjustment of status cases sent for filing in July, there will quickly be another rapid retrogression of immigrant visa availability. This would result in potentially many thousands of newly-filed adjustment cases remaining at USCIS for quite some time while applicants wait for the immigrant visa numbers to again become current.

Obviously, a decision by USCIS not to accept adjustment of status applications for some or all employment-based categories during all or part of July would be a devastating development for companies and foreign national employees who have relied on the July Visa Bulletin and are preparing to file adjustments. Many organizations, including Paul Hastings and the Global Personnel Alliance, are working to determine the true position of USCIS and the Department of State on this issue and to advocate for USCIS to accept all adjustments filed during the entire month of July in accordance with the July Visa Bulletin. We will send an update when definitive information is available.