Our office closely monitors not only each monthly Visa Bulletin but also any developments and updates from here in Washington, DC which may give us some idea on upcoming movements and surprises. Our goal is to share any and all credible information with our clients and readers in order to allow proper planning and to set expectations as realistically as possible.
Mr. Charles Oppenheim, who is the Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at the U.S. Department of State and the person who prepares and publishes the monthly visa bulletin, has provided some thoughts and his expectations for the upcoming few months’ Visa Bulletin movements. These comments are as of March 13, 2015.
The significant retrogression in EB-3 China in the April 2015 Visa Bulletin has essentially put an end to the EB-3 China “downgrade” trends which saw many EB-2 China applicants downgrade their case to EB-3 in order to take advantage of the more favorable EB-3 China cutoff dates. With the retrogression in EB-3 China we see a more “natural” positioning of the EB-2 and EB-3 China cutoff dates.
While our office has been helping a number of EB-2 China applicants downgrade to EB-3 in order to take advantage of the dates over the past few months, we have always cautioned that this kind of downgrade is not for everyone and that over long-term, EB-2 China would still be the better category for ultimately the fastest green card approval.
If demand in EB-2 China does not increase significantly as a result of the April 2014 forward movement, it is expected to see another notable forward movement in EB-2 China in the next month or two.
Retrogression is likely to occur no later than June 2015.
EB-2 India has advanced significantly over the last two months – 16 months in the March 2015 Visa Bulletin and eight months in the April 2015 Visa Bulletin. On top of this, Mr. Oppenheim expects that India would advance at a steady pace for another couple of months before a possible slowdown towards the end of the fiscal year (which ends September 30, 2015). We read this to mean that forward movements of about 4-6 months per Visa Bulletin are likely over the next one to two months.
Unfortunately, Mr. Oppenheim cannot share much good news as he expects EB-3 India to move by one to (possibly) two weeks per month. The reason is that there is a significant amount of preadjudicated EB-3 India I-485 applications (more than 9,100) with a priority date before January 1, 2005 (when the annual limit is 2,875 immigrant visas). Therefore, we expect very slow forward movement in EB-3 India.
EB-3 ROW, Mexico and Philippines
After the notable forward movement in April, Mr. Oppenheim expects that there will be more significant forward movement in the May Visa Bulletin. Great news for EB-3 applicants from these countries.
While it is not expected that EB-3 ROW would become current any time soon, it is likely for this category to get into 2015 – which means that this category will be close to current and, in effect, for many, by the time candidates obtain PERM and I-140 approvals, they may already be current and be able to file their I-485 adjustment applications. We call on all EB-3 applicants to either start their PERM applications soon or, for those who have applications underway, to be ready to take advantage of a possible current priority date over the next few months.
Mr. Oppenheim’s comments are extremely helpful to get a sense of the visa cutoff dates over the next few months. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can review your case, answer any questions or schedule a consultation.
We also invite you to subscribe to our free weekly immigration newsletter to receive timely updates on this and related topics. Finally, if you already haven’t, please consider our Visa Bulletin Predictions tool which provides personalized predictions and charts helping you understand when a particular priority date may become current and what are the movement patterns.