January 2024 Visa Bulletin: Key Updates in Family and Employment-Based Categories

With the new year comes significant updates in immigration policies, particularly for families, employers looking to hire foreign workers, and professionals who want to work in the US.

As a result of the substantial volumes of immigrant visas and adjustment of status applications being handled by the US Department of State (DoS) and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), they are limiting the amount of available immigrant visas for the fiscal year (FY) 2024. These updates are on the January 2024 Visa Bulletin.

Are you worried that these changes may affect you? Consult a family immigration lawyer inNew York for advice. You can also keep reading for a detailed look at these updates and how they might impact your circumstances.

What changes are indicated on the January 2024 Visa Bulletin?

In January 2024, the Dates for Filing chart will be the basis for determining eligibility for I-485 filings (applications for registering permanent residence or adjusting status).

The Visa Bulletin issued monthly by the State Department offers an overview of the availability of immigrant visas for the upcoming month. It includes two charts for each category: the Final Action Dates chart (indicating current and available priority dates) and the Dates for Filing chart (showing priority dates expected to become current within the fiscal year).

The key updates in the Dates for Filing chart are as follows:

  • The EB-1 category globally remains current, but for China, it moves forward by five months to January 1, 2023. For India, the EB-1 category will advance by eighteen months to January 1, 2021.
  • The EB-2 category for India will maintain its current date of May 15, 2012.
  • In the EB-3 category, there are no changes worldwide, except for the China Professional/Skilled Worker category, which will advance by ten months to July 1, 2021.
  • The EB-4 Certain Religious Workers category, which was previously “unavailable,” will be open from September 1, 2019, for all regions.

If you need to check the Final Action Dates chart for any employment-based category, you will find it on the January 2024 Visa Bulletin at the US DoS.

FY 2024 immigrant visa availability

January 2024 marks the beginning of the government’s fiscal year’s second quarter. Some employment-based categories are moving forward, specifically the EB-1 (first preference) category.

The beginning of FY 2024 on October 1, 2023, was met with expectations of significant movements in final action dates across various visa categories. However, the Visa Bulletins from October 2023 through January 2024 revealed only small movements. Refer to the USCIS’s Employment-Based Adjustment of Status FAQs to dive deeper into this issue.

The State Department used 197,091 employment-based immigrant visas in FY 2023. This resulted in all available visas running out. Additionally, it approved over 145,000 employment-based adjustments of status applications. According to their estimate, the annual limit for employment-based visas in FY 2024 would be around 161,000, thanks to the unused family-sponsored visas from the previous fiscal year. Moreover, 10,874 visas will be carried over from FY 2023’s EB-5 category.

An important note

According to the USCIS’ FAQs, some categories—including EB-3 and EB-2 for noncitizens chargeable to India—have received “sufficient applications.” This will use up all the available visas for the current and upcoming fiscal years. Based on the demand for these visas, the DoS and USCIS determined that it is not reasonable to advance the dates to allow additional filings for FY 2024.

The USCIS also said that this ongoing retrogression is due to the fewer unused family-based immigrant visas being carried over to boost the number of employment-based immigrant visas in FY 2024 while the agencies resume regular operations after the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the annual limit for employment-based visas will be back to 140,000 when unused family-based numbers are exhausted.

Additionally, the USCIS recognizes the imbalance in demand for immigrant visas and annual statutory limits. Only Congress can change the statutory constraints on the number of immigrant visas, but the final action dates might not advance beyond FY 2024’s filing dates.

If you have concerns with family immigration or employment-based visas, don’t hesitate to connect with Berd & Klauss, PLLC. A family immigration lawyer in New York will work with you to help you navigate the intricacies of immigration laws.

No matter the complexity of your case, Berd & Klauss, PLLC has the exceptional expertise and knowledge to assist corporations and individuals alike. Book an appointment with a family immigration lawyer in New York by calling 212-461-7152 or email info@berdklauss.com.