Interview with Department of State re: Visa Bulletin

In an interview with Charlie Oppenheim, Department of State, the following are predictions for Forward Movement in the Family & Employment based Preference Categories:

EB-2 India Retrogression
As Charlie predicted, EB-2 India will retrogress to February 15, 2005 as of November 1, 2014. Members who have EB-2 India clients with priority dates earlier than May 1, 2009 should file their adjustment of status applications before the end of October. No forward movement in this category is predicted for the foreseeable future.

EB-5 China
EB-5 China became current at the start of the new fiscal year in October, but as Charlie predicted last month, it will at some point become necessary to establish a cut-off date for EB-5 China, possibly as early as May 2015. Charlie will be speaking at a conference in San Francisco on October 23 and will have additional information to report to the public at that time.

EB-3 China “Downgrades”
The cut-off date for EB-2 China is December 8, 2009, approximately three weeks earlier than the cut-off date for EB-3 China, which is January 1, 2010. Charlie predicts that we are likely to see a cut-off for EB-2 China earlier than EB-3 China for a few months and that this is likely to prompt those with priority dates close to or within the EB-3 cut-off to file I-140s in the EB-3 category. This phenomenon is likely to last for a few months until these cases make it through USCIS, at which time the increased demand for EB-3 China will require a correction to that cut-off date.

As explained in the November Visa Bulletin, modest forward movement in the family-based preference categories of a few weeks to two months per month is possible. These predictions are based on information available in early October and will continue to be updated as the months progress and new information regarding the supply and demand for visas in the family-based categories becomes available.

In the employment-based preference categories, there is currently no movement predicted for EB-2 India, though EB-2 China is expected to progress by three to five weeks per month. Rapid advancement is expected in EB-3 China for the next few months until the correction described above kicks-in. A one or two week movement per month is expected for EB-3 India. EB-3 Mexico is expected to remain at the worldwide cut-off, as is EB-3 Philippines though for the Philippines, a roll-back might be necessary later in the fiscal year should demand increase dramatically.

Member Question Regarding Unused Visa Numbers
An AILA member posed a series of questions following news reports of an estimated 200,000 unused visas which could be recaptured through administrative action.

Charlie agrees that there are approximately 220,000 family and employment-based visas that have gone unused, most of which can be attributed to the period between 1992 and 1997. Prior to the “dot com bubble,” demand was usually insufficient to use all of the available employment-based visa numbers in any given fiscal year. Since then, the increase in demand for labor in the IT sector and improved interagency processes have contributed to greater use of employment-based visa numbers in the fiscal year for which they were allocated. In the past, such unused numbers have only been recaptured through legislative action.

Editor's Note: Originally Published on 10/20/2014