Here’s another edition of “Ask Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at technology companies.
“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that allows people all over the world to rise above borders and pursue their dreams,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you’re in people ops, a founder or seeking a job in Silicon Valley, I would love to answer your questions in my next column.”
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Why is there no movement in the June 2023 Visa Bulletin for India EB-3?
Can’t the Department of State/USCIS track the interfiled applications between EB-2 and EB-3 and move the dates accordingly?
— Curious in Chennai
Thanks for your questions! The Visa Bulletin has been very volatile of late and I totally understand your frustration with retrogressions and lack of movement in the employment-based green card categories.
My dream is that any child born anywhere in the world has the opportunity to follow their heart to do things that will make the world a better place — and to that end I’m doing what I can to educate folks about immigration options and strategies to live and work legally in the United States!
Toward that end, let me provide a bit of context about downgrading from an EB-2 advanced degree or exceptional ability green card to EB-3 professionals and workers green card, the process of interfiling and movement in the Visa Bulletin. Check out this Ask Sophie column in which I talk about the availability of employment-based green cards and the Visa Bulletin.
Downgrading and interfiling
Downgrading is when an employer files a new Form I-140 green card petition for an employee in a lower employment-based preference category to take advantage of a more favorable priority date in that lower category, which may lead to a green card number becoming available sooner. Most often, downgrading occurs when an employee born in India or China has an approved I-140 EB-2 green card application and is waiting for a green card number to become available. (If the employer, job, location and pay have not changed from the original PERM application, a new PERM application is not required.)
When the downgraded I-140 is approved, the employer can file an I-485 application to register permanent residence or adjust status for the employee as long as the employee’s priority date is current in the downgraded category. The priority date is the date that the U.S. Department of Labor received the PERM labor certification application for the EB-2 or EB-3 green card or the date that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services received the EB-1 or EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) I-140 green card application, which do not require PERM.