Dec 2015 Visa Bulletin Analysis Essay


Executive Summary

  • EB-2 China will advance by two weeks, to July 1, 2013.
  • EB-2 India will advance by three weeks, to November 1, 2008.
  • EB-3 cutoff dates for professionals and skilled workers will advance by three months for China, to March 8, 2014, and will remain unchanged for India.

According to the State Department’s December Visa Bulletin, cutoff dates for issuance of an immigrant visa will advance as follows:

  • EB-2: China will advance by two weeks, to July 1, 2013. India will advance by three weeks, to November 1, 2008.
  • EB-3 (Professional and Skilled Workers): China will advance by five weeks, to March 8, 2014. There will be no advancement for India. 
  • EB-3 (Other Workers):China will advance by three months, to July 1, 2006.  There will be no advancement for India. 
  • EB-5: China will advance by two weeks, to July 15, 2014, for the Regional Center and Non-Regional Center programs. 


In the coming days, USCIS is expected to announce on its own Visa Bulletin web page whether it will accept adjustment of status applications from foreign nationals with a priority date that is current for filing eligibility in December. Dates for filing will remain unchanged from November.

Possible Unavailability for the EB-5 Regional Center Program

The EB-5 Regional Center program is set to expire on December 8, 2017 under a temporary federal spending measure signed into law on September 8, 2017.  Immigrant visas in this subcategory will become unavailable on December 8 unless Congress reauthorizes the program or passes another temporary spending measure.  The EB-5 non-Regional Center program will not be affected.

FINAL ACTION CUT-OFF DATES FOR DECEMBER 2017

EB-1
Current for all countries

EB-2
China: July 1, 2013
India: November 1, 2008
All other countries: Current

EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers
China: March 8, 2014
India: October 15, 2006
Philippines: January 15, 2016
All other countries: Current

EB-3 Other Workers
China: July 1, 2006
India: October 15, 2006
Philippines: January 15, 2016
All other countries: Current

EB-4
El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras: November 8, 2015
Mexico: April 22, 2016
All other countries: Current

EB-5
China: July 15, 2014
Current for all other countries and subcategories

FILING ELIGIBILITY CUT-OFF DATES FOR DECEMBER 2017

EB-1
Current for all countries

EB-2
China: November 15, 2013
India: February 8, 2009
All other countries: Current

EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers
China: September 1, 2015
India: January 1, 2008
Philippines: August 1, 2016
All other countries: Current

EB-3 Other Workers
China: June 1, 2008
India: January 1, 2008
Philippines: August 1, 2016
All other countries: Current

EB-4
El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras: April 15, 2016
All other countries: Current

EB-5
China: October 1, 2014
Current for all other countries and subcategories

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.

In our continuing series of reports, Charles (“Charlie”) Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State, shares his most recent analysis of current trends and future projections for the various immigrant preference categories with AILA (the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association).

Below are highlights from the most recent “check-in with Charlie” (June 13, 2017), reflecting his analysis of current trends and future projections for the various immigrant preference categories.

This month, Charlie examines the final action date movements in the July 2017 Visa Bulletin and provides his projections for monthly final action date movement through the remainder of this fiscal year.

Check-in with DOS’s Charlie Oppenheim: June 13, 2017

EB-1 China and India. The final action date for EB-1 China and EB-1 India (January 1, 2012) that was imposed in June 2017 remains for July 2017 and is expected to hold through the end of this fiscal year. Due to the availability (through May) of “otherwise unused numbers” in these categories, EB-1 China has used more than 6,300 numbers and EB-1 India has used more than 12,900 so far this fiscal year.

EB-2 Worldwide. Since demand declined slightly in the second half of May, and demand during the first week of June was steady, Charlie felt comfortable keeping EB-2 Worldwide current in July. A final action cut-off date will be imposed in this category in August and will be more dramatic than it would have been if a date had been imposed in July. The good news is that this category will become current again on October 1, 2017.

EB-2 India. In July, the final action date for EB-2 India will advance three weeks to July 22, 2008. Charlie expects minimal advancement in this category through the rest of the fiscal year. The best case scenario for this fiscal year would be a final action date of September or October 2008.

Pressure on this category is attributable to high demand in EB-2 India and the lack of otherwise unused numbers under the EB-2 annual limit, which had been prevalent through FY-2015. Charlie noted that approximately 40 percent of the available EB-2 India numbers are being used by beneficiaries who have upgraded from EB-3 India.

EB-2 China and EB-3 China. For the first time this fiscal year, the final action date for EB-2 China is later than the final action date for EB-3 China. EB-2 China advanced three weeks in July to March 22, 2013, and Charlie expects slow progress in this category will continue. By contrast, EB-3 China will retrogress three years in July to January 1, 2012, as a result of a significant amount of EB-3 downgrades. The final action date for EB-3 China Other Workers will hold at July 15, 2006, and this date could also retrogress in August.

The final action date of January 1, 2012, for EB-3 China will hold through the end of this fiscal year, but will advance to October 1, 2014, effective October 1, 2017.

The annual allocation for EB-3 China is only 2,500 because the Chinese Student Protection Act requires an offset of 1,000 numbers from the China employment-based visa annual limit each fiscal year. Three hundred of those numbers are deducted from the EB-3 limit, and seven hundred numbers are deducted from the EB-5 limit.

EB-3 Worldwide. In July, EB-3 Worldwide will advance less than two months to June 8, 2017, keeping this category effectively current.

EB-3 India. In July, EB-3 India will advance five months to October 15, 2005, and should continue to advance. The otherwise unused numbers for EB-3 Worldwide are required to be allocated in order of priority date, meaning that these numbers will fall to EB-3 India, which has the earliest final action date in the EB-3 category.

EB-5 China. The final action date for EB-5 China will continue to hold at June 8, 2014, in July and Charlie expects this category to advance to by one week for August. Some additional forward movement in this category remains possible for September should demand by USCIS be less than estimated.

FB-4 Worldwide. In July, the final action date for FB-4 Worldwide will be May 8, 2004. Charlie hopes to advance this category later this fiscal year, but the data is too close to make a definitive prediction at this time. The response rate to the NVC “Agent of Choice” letters in this and most family-based categories is less than 50%, with less than 35% of those respondents providing all of the information required for a visa interview to be scheduled. Charlie reminds members that it is important to promptly respond to an “Agent of Choice” letter. If individuals who received “Agent of Choice” letters before April 2016 had responded promptly, more than 100,000 of them could have been scheduled for an interview by April 2017.

Special Immigrants. A final action date of August 15, 2015, will be imposed for EB-4 India in July. This date tracks the July final action date for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico (which advanced one month from June) and will continue to do so for the remainder of the fiscal year, possibly reaching October 2015. In October, EB-4 India is expected to return to current. A final action date for EB-4 will continue into FY 2018 for the other countries, though Mexico may have different date from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Note: numbers “otherwise unused” under the Worldwide EB-3 limit are allocated in order of priority date without regard to the per-country limitation. Therefore, such numbers would be provided to EB-3 India applicants, which are subject to the earliest final action date.

For July, EB-3 Philippines will advance one year to May 15, 2014, and will likely advance to a date in the fall of 2015 before the end of this fiscal year.

You may access the July 2017 Visa Bulletin here and the August 2017 Visa Bulletin (once available) here.

___________________________

Alka Bahal is a Partner and the Co-Chair of the Corporate Immigration Practice of Fox Rothschild LLP. Alka is situated in Fox Rothschild’s Roseland, New Jersey office though she practices throughout the United States and at Consulates worldwide. You can reach Alka at (973) 994-7800, or abahal@foxrothschild.com.

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