Today’s release of the November Visa Bulletin resulted in disappointment and frustration among Indian and Chinese nationals who have been waiting in line for years for green cards.

Every month there is great anticipation surrounding the release of the Visa Bulletin.  This document provides a crystal ball for green card applicants who must wait in line for their “priority date” to become current.  Once a priority date is current, a green card application may be filed.  Thus, this chart of dates, which is meaningless to most Americans, provides hope or despair for foreign nationals.

Last October 2020, the Visa Bulletin was full of good news.  Due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the processing of immigrant visas at overseas consular posts, the annual limit in available visa numbers for the employment-based visa categories increased significantly for Fiscal Year 2021, which started on October 1, 2020. The surplus of numbers rolling over, due to COVID-19 logistic complications, created a bonanza for employment-based immigrants as the priority dates for huge numbers of hopeful Indians and Chinese moved forward.  USCIS was deluged with applications.

Today’s Visa Bulletin reflected the sad truth that USCIS was unable to process the flood of cases.  It is estimated that up to 80,000 visa numbers went unused and thus expired.  According to Charlie Oppenheim, the DOS employee who monitors and meters the numbers, USCIS has already accepted enough applications to use up the surplus that will roll over to this fiscal year.  Accordingly, the Visa Bulletin for November 2021 rolled back priority dates for Indian and Chinese skilled workers, destroying hope that their pending green card applications will be adjudicated during this fiscal year.

There’s got to be a better way…