Revised October Visa Bulletin Sparks Class Action Lawsuit
As noted in our earlier report, the Department of State (DOS) revised its October Visa Bulletin on September 25, 2015 to reflect new cutoff dates for EB-2 Chinese and Indian nationals planning to file Adjustment of Status applications. DOS rolled back the cutoff date 2 years for Indian applicants in the EB-2 category, from July 1, 2011 to July 1, 2009. EB-2 Chinese nationals saw a retrogression of 16 months, from May 1, 2014 to January 1, 2013.
This change comes just 2 weeks after the DOS’ attempt to modernize the current visa processing infrastructure, which because of bureaucratic shortcomings and application backlogs, allows approximately 2% of available immigrant visas to go unused every year.
In response to the revised Visa Bulletin that now excludes thousands, if not tens of thousands, of previously eligible applicants from filing Adjustment of Status applications, affected immigrants have filed a class action lawsuit against DOS, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The Complaint filed against these agencies seeks declaratory and injunctive relief for the highly-skilled immigrants (basis of the EB-2 category) that spent “millions of dollars preparing to apply for green cards in reasonable reliance on an agency’s binding policy statement.” Mehta v. Dept. of State, Case 2:15-cv-01543, W.D. Wa., Seattle Div., filed Sept. 28, 2015. The Complaint highlights the circumstances of numerous plaintiffs who spent money on attorney fees and medical exams, turned down promotions, cancelled international trips, and made decisions on family planning based on the initial October Visa Bulletin that was released on September 9, 2015.
EIG will monitor the progress of this class action lawsuit and release updates regarding the Visa Bulletin as they become available.