Check-in with Department of State’s Charlie Oppenheim regarding the May 2019 Visa Bulletin

EB-1: The Final Action Dates for both EB-1 China and EB-1 India hold at February 22, 2017 in the May 2019 visa bulletin. In Section D. of the bulletin, "China-mainland born and India Employment-Based First (E1) Preference Visa Availability", Charlie specifically mentions that the extremely high EB-1 number usage worldwide "may require the retrogression of this final action date in an effort to limit future number use." He further added that any such action would be temporary, with a full recovery of the Final Action Dates for India and China by October 2019, the first month of the new FY. At this time Charlie is unable to determine when this retrogression might occur. As a result, practitioner are advised to file I-485 applications for eligible clients as soon as possible.

Charlie further cautions AILA members to not expect any forward movement for the EB-1 China and EB-1 India categories for the remainder of FY 2019. It would be an unexpected and pleasant surprise to find the worldwide demand dissipating, not only preventing any retrogression, but allowing for some forward movement in these categories as well.

We should expect movement of anywhere from "no movement up to one month" for EB-1 Worldwide. For May 2019, these categories advance one full month for a Final Action Date of March 1, 2018.

EB-2 Worldwide: Charlie continues to predict that based on current demand levels the EB-2 Worldwide will remain current throughout FY 2019. That continues to bear out as the category remains current in May 2019.

EB-2 and EB-3 India: In May 2019 the EB-2 India category advances a total of four days, to a Final Action Date of April 16, 2009. EB-3 India remains ahead of EB-2 India, advancing one week for a Final Action Date of July 1, 2009. While Charlie is starting to see increased demand for EB-2 India numbers, he indicated that this category will move up to one week if this increased demand does not continue.

Keep in mind that last year Charlie used up all of the numbers from his EB-3 India pending demand file that dated back to the summer 2007 adjustment of status filings. Based on the availability of large amounts of "otherwise unused" EB-3 numbers in recent years, and early indications this would hold true for FY-2019, he has advanced this India category at a faster pace. As filings continue and Charlie gets a sense of the potential worldwide demand levels through September, it could influence the pace of forward EB-3 India movement.

Since it has only been a few months since the Final Action Date for EB-3 India has surpassed that of EB-2 India, and since the delta between them is relatively small (only 2.5 months in May), Charlie has yet to see any significant EB-3 downgrade demand. If that materializes, it could alter the demand patterns and bring the Final Action Dates for these two categories closer together. Until or unless that happens, Charlie's projections for date movement remain the same. He might modify projections in the June or July Visa Bulletin based on new reports he expects to receive from the National Benefits Center in early May.

EB-2 and EB-3 China: In May 2019 the EB-2 China Final Action Date advances six weeks to May 15, 2016, and EB-3 China again advances three weeks for a Final Action Date of August 22, 2015. Charlie expects the EB-2 China category to continue to advance at a pace of up to several months unless demand dramatically increases. Members should expect EB-3 China to continue to advance at a pace of up to three weeks. Charlie noted that USCIS demand in this category dropped in February and March 2019, and thus far in April 2019 USCIS demand in EB-3 China is at about the same level as last month's number usage.

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