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Q: I heard that visa numbers are now available for India in all employment-based categories. Is that true? What does that mean?

A: As of July 1, 2007, the Department of State (DOS) Visa Bulletin shows all employment-based categories (except the Unskilled Workers category) to be current. That means that all workers, except unskilled workers with less than two years of work experience, can proceed to file their employment-based adjustment of status and/or immigrant visa applications, assuming that they have already satisfied all other legal requirements. In order to file for permanent residency most employees must first obtain an approved labor certification.

Q: What is the likelihood of another visa retrogression? How soon?

A: As a result of current employment-based visa availability both U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and DOS expect mass filings in all employment-based categories. This may have an immediate effect on visa availability in both EB3 and EB2 employment categories. Thus, we are likely to see another visa retrogression in the months to come. It is critical to get your eligible cases for visas filed as early as possible.

Q: I am a U.S. registered nurse currently living in India. My U.S. employment-based petition (Form I-140) was already approved. When can I expect to get my visa?

A: Assuming that visas remain available in your employment category (EB3) you should be called for your immigrant visa interview in India in approximately 3 to 4 months.

Q: Is it true that new Department of Labor (DOL) regulations take effect on July 16, 2007? If so, what kind of changes with respect to labor certifications are we expected to see?

A: Yes, DOL final rule takes effect July 16, 2007. The rule includes several new provisions. It prohibits the substitution of beneficiaries on permanent labor certifications (LCs) and limits the validity period of approved LCs to 180 days. The final rule also requires employers to pay all the legal and advertising costs associated with preparing, filing, and obtaining LCs. Beneficiaries are strictly prohibited from reimbursing employers’ costs incurred by the employers during the LC process.

Q: What can I do if my immigrant case is stuck due to a security-clearance process?

A: You should allow FBI at least six months to conduct their research and to clear your name as a potential threat to the United States. You should then conduct inquires (one every three months) with the USCIS via INFOPASS appointments and if necessary make a congressional inquiry. If all fails, consider contacting an experienced immigration attorney and filing a lawsuit (writ of mandamus) against USCIS and/or FBI.James E. Root, Esq., manages an exclusive immigration law practice with two offices in L.A. and Orange counties. (888) ROOT-LAW.>