16 House Democrats expressed their disappointment in a letter to Department of Homeland Security’s Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry, and urged U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Department of State (DOS) to make up for the hardship created by the visa deadline revision for highly skilled workers in the employment-based immigrant categories.
On September 9th, the monthly visa bulletin made a significant change in the process of filing for immigrant visa applications. Before, the visa cutoff dates were based on a single chart system, which governed both the visa issued date and the application filing date. With the new change, the visa bulletin system now runs on two charts system; “Application Final Action Dates,” which shows cutoff dates that govern when visa can be issued and the new chart, “Dates for Filing,” showing cutoff dates for when application can be filed.
The new chart is significant because the cutoff dates are later than the dates in the original charts. This means that immigrants with later priority dates can submit their application much earlier.
However, after releasing the October visa bulletin with the newly implemented system, State Department revised the October Bulletin cutoff dates for “Dates for Filing” chart. The revision setback the cutoff dates for EB-2 Visa applicants from India by two years and EB-2 Visa applicants from China by 16 months.
The sudden revision for “Dates for Filing” chart caused “hardships” to numerous applicants who thought they qualified according to the previous indicated date. These applicants already paid for medical examinations and attorney’s fees.
The 16 House Democrats urged the State Department to make up for the “hardships” caused by the recent revision.
Reps. Zoe Lofgren and Mike Honda, D-Calif., who said to represent the districts Silicon Valley district, led the letter writing to DHS. The letter mentions that the “current visa backlog and restrictions already create incentives for skilled foreign workers to leave the (U.S.) and take their skills to other countries that offer more competitive immigration programs.”
The letter to the DHS mentioned that the EB-2 visa applicants from countries like India and China should implement methods to give permission to legally work under certain qualifying condition. In addition, a revision of “an extraordinary circumstance” beyond the control of applicants filing late request to extend their nonimmigrant statuses was requested as well.
The 16 House Democrats are pushing the concept of “moving forward with real, lasting comprehensive immigration reform” and not continuing to “roll back the clock on our immigration policies.”