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Visa Bulletin For July 2006

Number 95
Volume VIII
Washington, D.C.

VISA BULLETING FOR JULY 2006

A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

1.
This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during
July. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of
State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas;
the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of
Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status.
Allocations were made, to the extent possible under the numerical
limitations, for the demand received by June 9th in the chronological
order of the reported priority dates. If the demand could not be
satisfied within the statutory or regulatory limits, the category or
foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed.
The cut-off date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of
the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical
limits. Only applicants who have a priority date earlier than the
cut-off date may be allotted a number. Immediately that it becomes
necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a cut-off
date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the
priority date falls within the new cut-off date.

2.
Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual
minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000. The worldwide
level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least
140,000. Section 202 prescribes that the per-country limit for
preference immigrants is set at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored
and employment-based preference limits, i.e., 25,620. The dependent
area limit is set at 2%, or 7,320.

3. Section 203 of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of immigrant visas as follows:

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

First : Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second
: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent
Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide
family preference level exceeds 226,000, and any unused first
preference numbers:

A. Spouses and Children: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

B. Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older): 23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third : Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth : Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES

First : Priority Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth
and fifth preferences.

Second
: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of
Exceptional Ability: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference
level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.

Third
: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: 28.6% of the
worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second
preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to “Other Workers”. Schedule
A Workers : Employment First, Second, and Third preference Schedule A
applicants are entitled to up to 50,000 “recaptured” numbers.

Fourth : Certain Special Immigrants: 7.1% of the worldwide level.

Fifth
: Employment Creation: 7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000
of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or
high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional
centers by Sec. 610 of P.L. 102-395.

4.
INA Section 203(e) provides that family-sponsored and employment-based
preference visas be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which
a petition in behalf of each has been filed. Section 203(d) provides
that spouses and children of preference immigrants are entitled to the
same status, and the same order of consideration, if accompanying or
following to join the principal. The visa prorating provisions of
Section 202(e) apply to allocations for a foreign state or dependent
area when visa demand exceeds the per-country limit. These provisions
apply at present to the following oversubscribed chargeability areas:
CHINA-mainland born, INDIA, MEXICO, and PHILIPPINES.

5.
On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that
the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); “C” means current, i.e.,
numbers are available for all qualified applicants; and “U” means
unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available. (NOTE: Numbers are
available only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the
cut-off date listed below.)

Family All Charge- ability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO  PHILIPPINES
1st  01JAN00 01JAN00 01JAN00 15MAY92 22SEP91
2A 01SEP99 01SEP99 01SEP99 01SEP99 01SEP99
2B 22AUG96 22AUG96 22AUG96 01DEC91 08JUL96
3rd 22AUG98  22AUG98  22AUG98 15OCT93 01JUL88
4th 01MAY95 01MAY95  01OCT94 15AUG93  15DEC83

Employment-
  Based
All Charge- ability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st  C C 01JAN06 C C
2nd C 01MAR05 01JAN03  C C
3rd  01OCT01  01OCT01  15APR01 22APR01 01OCT01
Schedule A Workers C C C C C
Other Workers U U U U U
4th  C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
5th C C C C C
Targeted Employment Areas/ Regional Centers C C C C C

The
Department of State has available a recorded message with visa
availability information which can be heard at: (area code 202)
663-1541. This recording will be updated in the middle of each month
with information on cut-off dates for the following month.

Employment
Third Preference Other Workers Category: Section 203(e) of the NACARA,
as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105 – 139, provides that once the
Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached
the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November
19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be
reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year.
This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset
adjustments under the NACARA program. Since the EW cut-off date reached
November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW
annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002.

B. DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY

Section
203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides a maximum of up
to 55,000 immigrant visas each fiscal year to permit immigration
opportunities for persons from countries other than the principal
sources of current immigration to the United States. The Nicaraguan and
Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November
1997 stipulates that beginning with DV-99, and for as long as
necessary, up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas
will be made available for use under the NACARA program. This reduction has resulted in the DV-2006 annual limit being reduced to 50,000.
DV visas are divided among six geographic regions. No one country can
receive more than seven percent of the available diversity visas in any
one year.

For
July, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified
DV-2006 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as
follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are
available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers
BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:

Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately  
AFRICA  AF   27,850 Except Ethiopia: 22,800
Nigeria: 14,675
ASIA   AS    7,225  
EUROPE EU   15,250    
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS)   NA       13   
OCEANIA OC      930  
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN SA    1,610  

Entitlement
to immigrant status in the DV category lasts only through the end of
the fiscal (visa) year for which the applicant is selected in the
lottery. The year of entitlement for all applicants registered for the
DV-2006 program ends as of September 30, 2006. DV visas may not be
issued to DV-2006 applicants after that date. Similarly, spouses and
children accompanying or following to join DV-2006 principals are only
entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2006. DV visa
availability through the very end of FY-2006 cannot be taken for
granted. Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.

ITEM C is being worked on and will be posted on this site on Thursday.

D. RETROGRESSION OF FAMILY F2A CUT-OFF DATE FOR JUNE

For July, it has been necessary to retrogress the F1 and F2A cut-off dates. This has been done in an effort to hold the issuance
levels within the applicable annual numerical limits for the affected categories.

F. IMMIGRANT VISA AVAILABILITY DURING THE REMAINDER OF FY-2006

Readers
are reminded that during the summer months, with immigrant visa number
use approaching the annual limits for the year, the supply of numbers
remaining for use is limited. Thus, cut-off date advances could slow or
stop, and monthly allocations decrease. Additional retrogression of
cut-off dates such as those experienced for July are possible. Readers
should not assume visa availability until the cut-off dates are
announced.

G. OBTAINING THE MONTHLY VISA BULLETIN

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs offers the monthly “Visa Bulletin” on the INTERNET’S WORLDWIDE WEB. The
INTERNET Web address to access the Bulletin is:
http://travel.state.gov/

From the home page, select the VISA section which contains the Visa Bulletin.

To
be placed on the Department of State’s E-mail subscription list for the
“Visa Bulletin”, please send an E-mail to the following E-mail address:

listserv@calist.state.gov

and in the message body type:
Subscribe Visa-Bulletin First name/Last name
(example: Subscribe Visa-Bulletin Sally Doe)

To be removed from the Department of State’s E-mail subscription list for the “Visa Bulletin”, send an
e-mail message to the following E-mail address:

listserv@calist.state.gov

and in the message body type: Signoff Visa-Bulletin

The
Department of State also has available a recorded message with visa
cut-off dates which can be heard at: (area code 202) 663-1541. The
recording is normally updated by the middle of each month with
information on cut-off dates for the following month.

Readers may submit questions regarding Visa Bulletin related items by
E-mail at the following address:

VISABULLETIN@STATE.GOV

(This address cannot be used to subscribe to the Visa Bulletin.)

Department of State Publication 9514

CA/VO:June 9, 2006

Legal immigrants face citizenship hurdles

Via SunHerald.com
05/12/2006

Kshitij
Bedi recently marked his fourth wedding anniversary, but it wasn’t much
of a celebration, just a long-distance phone conversation.

The Long Island resident has barely seen his wife, Shweta, in the
past four years. She is in India, waiting and waiting – and waiting –
for the visa that would allow her to join her husband, a legal
permanent resident, in the United States.

Bedi applied for the visa in April 2002, less than three weeks after
the couple’s wedding. He tries to visit India as much as possible, but
essentially, “I’ve been a bachelor since then.”

“There’s nothing we can do,” he said. “We’re so helpless.”

In all the recent talk about immigration reform, most of the focus
has been on the millions of people in the United States illegally. But
part of the problem, legal experts and immigrant advocates say, is a
complicated legal immigration system in which the demand for visas far
outstrips the supply.

“People aren’t choosing to walk through the desert; they’re doing
that because the front door is closed,” said Benjamin Johnson, director
of the Immigration Policy Center at the American Immigration Law
Foundation. “The only way to get in is the back door.”

Some foreigners are left waiting for a visa for more than a decade.
And those are just the ones who fit into one of the complex categories
of people eligible to apply for a visa. The ones who don’t? Forget it,
experts say.

“For the vast majority of people who would like to move to the
United States, there is no line to get on,” said Julie Dinerstein,
deputy director of immigration advocacy for the New York Immigration
Coalition.

In general, there are four ways foreigners can get permission to
move to the United States: They can be sponsored by an American citizen
relative, or in some cases, a legal resident relative; they can be
sponsored by an employer; they can claim refugee or asylum status; or
they can win a visa lottery.

But each one of the categories has limitations. For American
citizens, their spouses, parents, and unmarried children under 18 can
get immediate visas, with no wait. But any married children or adult
siblings have to get in line, and other relations, such as cousins,
cannot be sponsored. Legal permanent residents, like Bedi, can sponsor
only spouses or unmarried children, not other relatives.

There are about 226,000 family-preference visas available in a year
for the entire world, divided equally among countries. (Immediate
family members of American citizens are not counted in this category.)
For companies looking to sponsor an employee, there are about 140,000
visas.

To win refugee status, foreigners must prove they face persecution
in their homeland. As for the visa lottery, it is only for residents of
countries that aren’t already sending large numbers of people here.
About 50,000 diversity visas are given out each year.

But those totals don’t even come near to accommodating the millions of people who want to come here.

According to the latest government bulletin:

_ The waiting list for unmarried adult children of legal permanent
residents is nearly 10 years long. For those coming from Mexico, it is
almost 15 years.

_ For adult siblings of American citizens, the wait is more than 10
years; for those coming from the Philippines, almost 23 years.

The numbers of visas given out is set by Congress; the last
adjustment was more than a decade ago. The basic framework, that all
countries get the same number of visas, was put into place in 1965.

Some say it is time to change the law.

“Many people feel if we would liberalize our legal immigration
rules, that that in itself would reduce the scale of illegal
immigration,” said Stephen Legomsky, professor of international law at
Washington University in St. Louis.

Dinerstein said it is clear that the American economy can absorb
more people than are coming legally, as evidenced by the number of
illegal immigrants seeking jobs.

And no one feels the pain more than those who are separated from their families.

People like Dorota Szewczyk, who left her toddler daughter behind in
Poland to join her husband here. That marriage fell apart, and now she
is waiting for her legal residency status – a process that could take
years. She cannot leave the country, meaning the daughter could be well
into her teens before seeing her mother again.

Or Sam Assatov, a software engineer from Uzbekistan who works in New
York City. He is waiting to be reunited with his wife and 7-month-old
son, who are still back in their homeland.

“You basically end up spending your life in the United States
looking forward to going back,” he said. “You count the days until you
live together and the days you can’t live together, you hope they end.”