October 2022 Visa Bulletin Includes Important Updates

The Department of State’s (DOS) Visa Bulletin for October 2022, the first month of the new fiscal year, includes several updates:

· Scheduled expiration of employment fourth preference (SR) Religious Workers category. Unless Congress extends this category, no SR visas may be issued overseas, or final action was taken on adjustment of status cases, after midnight September 29, 2022. Visas issued before that date will be valid only until that date. All individuals seeking admission in the non-minister special immigrant category must be admitted into the United States by midnight on September 29, 2022.

· Retrogression of China-mainland-born final action date and imposition of India final action date in the employment-based fifth preference unreserved categories (including C5, T5, I5, and R5). The final action date for the China-mainland-born EB-5 unreserved categories for immigrant investors will retrogress in October due to heavy demand for numbers. Also, due to India’s demand, a final action date for October will be imposed on the EB-5 unreserved categories.

· Retrogression of India employment second preference (EB-2) final action and application filing dates for October. Rapid forward movements of the India EB-2 last action and application filing dates during FY 2022 were made to maximize the number use under the unprecedented high employment limit of 281,507. As a result, heavy applicant demand has materialized. Coupled with significantly lower visa number availability for India EB-2 for FY 2023 compared to FY 2022, DOS said corrective action was required to keep number use within the maximum allowed under the FY 2023 annual limits.

· Visa availability in the employment fourth category. High demand in this category may necessitate the establishment of a worldwide final action date in the coming months, DOS said.

SOURCES: ABIL Immigration Insider, September 12, 2022, and https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/visa-law0/visa-bulletin/2023/visa-bulletin-for-october-2022.html


Final Rule on Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility Issued By Department of Homeland Security

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its regulations, effective December 23, 2022, regarding determinations of whether noncitizens are inadmissible to the United States because they are likely at any time to become a public charge.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said DHS “will not penalize individuals for choosing to access the health benefits and other supplemental government services available to them.” These benefits include Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or other nutrition programs, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicaid (other than for long-term institutionalization), housing benefits, any benefits related to immunizations or testing for communicable diseases, or other supplemental or special-purpose benefits.

Under the final rule, DHS will determine that a noncitizen is likely to become a public charge if the noncitizen is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance or long-term institutionalization at government expense.

On August 14, 2019, DHS issued a different rule on this topic, which is no longer in effect.

SOURCES: ABIL Immigration Insider, September 12, 2022; and https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/news-releases/dhs-publishes-fair-and-humane-public-charge-rule


USCIS Releases FAQs for Employment-Based Adjustment of Status

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released an updated fiscal year (FY) 2023 frequently asked questions on employment-based (EB) adjustment of status. The introduction to the FAQs notes that the EB annual limit for FY 2023 will be higher than was typical before the pandemic but lower than in FYs 2021 and 2022. USCIS reiterated that it is “dedicated to ensuring we use as many available employment-based visas as possible in FY 2023,” which ends on September 30, 2023.

The FAQs note that the Department of State currently estimates that the FY 2023 employment-based annual limit will be approximately 200,000 due to unused family-based visa numbers from FY 2022 being added to the employment-based limit for FY 2023.

SOURCES: ABIL Immigration Insider, September 12, 2022; and https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/green-card-processes-and-procedures/fiscal-year-2023-employment-based-adjustment-of-status-faqs

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