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September 2015 Visa Bulletin – EB-2 India and China Major Retrogression; EB-3 Advances Nicely; Last Visa Bulletin for Fiscal Year

The U.S. State Department has just released the September 2015 Visa Bulletin which is the last Visa Bulletin for the FY2015 fiscal year.   The major headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is the major retrogression in EB-2 India and EB-2 China and the notable forward movement for almost everyone in EB-3.

Summary of the September 2015 Visa Bulletin – Employment-Based (EB)

Below is a summary of the September 2015 Visa Bulletin with respect to the employment-based categories:

  • EB-1 remains current across the board.
  • EB-2 for ROW, Mexico and Philippines are all current.    EB-2 India retrogresses by thirty-three (33) months back to January 1, 2006.  EB-2 China also moves back by almost eight (8) years to January 1, 2006.
  • EB-3 ROW and Mexico advance by one (1) month to August 15, 2015 which is pretty much current.   EB-3 Philippines has advanced by about six (6) months to December 22, 2004.   EB-3 China  also advances by six (6) months to December 22, 2004 (although after a substantial seven-year retrogression last month).  EB-3 India  advances again (significantly by its standards) by about six (6) months to December 22, 2004.
  • The “other worker” categories for ROW and Mexico advance by one (1) month to August 15, 2015 while Philippines advances by six (6) months to December 22, 2004.   Other workers China remains unchanged at January 1, 2004 while India  advances by six (6) months to December 22, 2004.
  • EB-5 China advances by three (3) weeks to September 22, 2013.

Summary of the September 2015 Visa Bulletin – Family-Based (FB)

Below is a summary of the September 2015 Visa Bulletin with respect to some family-based categories:

  • FB-1 ROW, China and India move forward by one and a half (1.5) months to December 15, 2007.   FB-1 Mexico remains unchanged at November 15, 1994 and FB-1 Philippines moves forward by seven (7) months to October 22, 2000.
  • FB-2A moves forward again — this month the forward movement is by two and a half (2.5) months to March 1, 2014 for ROW, China, India and Philippines.  It moves forward by three (3) months to February 1, 2014  for Mexico.

Last Visa Bulletin For the Fiscal Year Bring Wide Swings

Before we go into analyzing some of the wide swings in this month’s Visa Bulletin, we would like to caution that the last Visa Bulletin for the fiscal year in September generally brings wide swings – either in forward or backward movement for many categories.    The reason is that as the Department of State is approaching the end of the fiscal year, it is evaluating the remaining available visa numbers to be issued for the last month and adjusting the Visa Bulletin dates either to stop any new filings (retrogression, to reflect few, if any, remaining visa numbers) or encourage filings and approvals (forward movement, to reflect remaining visa numbers).

Normally, at the beginning of the new fiscal year, as the annual visa numbers reset, we see adjustments back to “normal” in the October and subsequent Visa Bulletin.

EB-2 India and EB-2 China Major Retrogression

Applicants in the EB-2 India and EB-2 China categories will be disappointed with the significant retrogression in these categories.  EB-2 India goes back by two and a half years while EB-2 China goes back by eight (!) years.      As noted, the reason behind this sharp retrogression is the significant demand and number of filings under these categories over the last few months as the dates were moving forward.   As a result, and in order to allocate the available green card visa numbers over the remainder of the fiscal year (September 30), the Department of State has decided to move back the dates significantly to essentially stop the rate of new EB-2 India and China filings (and more importantly, approvals).

It is our expectation that once the new fiscal year begins with the October 2015 Visa Bulletin the cutoff dates for EB-2 India and China will return to their July and August 2015 levels (approximately).

EB-3 Advances Nicely for (Almost) Everyone

In contrast to the EB-2 retrogression, the EB-3 categories advance nicely for almost everyone.    EB-3 ROW and Mexico are now at August 15, 2015, which is almost current and which essentially means that anyone whose PERM is certified is eligible to file for a concurrent I-140 and I-485 petition.    This is a great (and rare) opportunity for many folks in the EB-3 category.

Similarly, EB-3 India advances significantly again, giving hope to the many EB-3 India candidates whose priority dates used to move only by one week at a time.    We are hoping that USCIS will now be able to clear many of the long-pending I-485s (perhaps subject to medical and employment verification/AC21 RFEs).

Current Priority Date?

Our office stands ready to assist in the applicable process to take advantage of a current (or close to current) priority date.   Those applicants whose priority dates are current as of the September 2015 Visa Bulletin may be eligible to process their (and their family members’) I-485 Adjustment of Status applications from within the U.S. or process their immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if our office can help you take advantage of this (very time-sensitive for some) opportunity to file I-485 applications.    We are also happy to provide a free quote for preparing and filing your I-485 application.

Further Updates and News

We invite you to subscribe to our free weekly immigration newsletter to receive timely updates on this and related topics.  We also invite you to contact us if our office can be of any assistance in your immigration matters or you have any questions or comments about the September 2015 Visa Bulletin.  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.

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This article is presented by the Capitol Immigration Law Group PLLC, an immigration law firm serving individual and corporate clients in the Washington, D.C. area and nationwide. We specialize in U.S. labor immigration law and we have successfully represented individuals from more than 30 countries and Fortune 100 companies. The article should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney. For more information, please contact us.