Here is another edition “Dear Sophie” is an advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at technology companies.
“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that enables people around the world to rise above borders and realize their dreams,” said Silicon Valley immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn. “Whether you’re in People Ops, a founder, or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your questions in my next column.”
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Today we are giving you answers to three questions about green cards in the EB-1A category for exceptional ability and multinational managers, EB-2 NIW and PERM as well as EB-3 for professionals.
I’m so close! My priority date for my EB-2 application to register for permanent residence was only nine days from the date listed on the September 2022 visa bulletin, but now the date on the October 2022 visa bulletin has been pushed back by more than two years!
I’m a software engineer and wanted to get my green card before I changed jobs, but now I’m reconsidering my path. I heard that employees are fined if they leave their employer before getting a green card.
What is your advice?
– Bumped by the Bulletin
I understand how frustrating it can be to wait a long time and be met with another delay. But don’t worry! The reversal in the visa bulletin for October 2022 — the previous cut-off date — reflects that there will be no more EB-2 immigrant visas for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. On October 1st, the annual green card caps reset!
In early September, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) indicated that its annual allocation of EB-1 and EB-2 green cards had been used up. Although the current Visa Bulletin lists the EB-1 green card as current for all countries accepting applications to register permanent residents (also known as adjustment of status) in that category, those cases remain pending until the start of the new fiscal year. On October 1.
USCIS Overrated The number of applications required to reach the annual limit to use all available green cards is a Very good thing. In the previous fiscal year (FY 2021), more than 200,000 green cards were available but never issued due to embassy and consular closures and backlogs of cases during the pandemic.
Because of the backlog in the EB-2 category, especially for people born in India and China, I suggest you consult with an immigration attorney to assess whether you may be a candidate for an EB-1A extraordinary ability visa.
Regarding the penalty you mentioned: USCIS does not impose a penalty on employers or employees if a green card applicant changes jobs before obtaining a green card. However, your employer may seek reimbursement from you for certain green card expenses, usually based on some prearranged agreement prior to starting the green card process. If you are facing this situation, an immigration attorney can help you determine the best course of action.