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United States Labor Immigration Law News and Analysis

Visa Bulletin Articles

The monthly visa bulletin issued by the Department of State is one of the most closely watched and anticipated government communications in the immigration community. We receive instant updates and are able to comment and analyze each visa bulletin promptly upon its issuance. Our clients benefit from our visa bulletin efforts by knowing as early in advance as possible about the potential benefits and developments that may arise from forward or backward movements in the visa numbers. If you would like to learn more about our immigration law practice or if you would like to request our services, please contact us. Additionally, you can subscribe to our email newsletter to receive visa bulletin updates via email as soon as they are available to us.


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.

No comments

August 2015 Visa Bulletin – EB-2 India Remains Unchanged, EB-3 India Advances Notably while EB-3 China Faces Major Retrogression

The U.S. State Department has just released the August 2015 Visa Bulletin which is the eleventh Visa Bulletin for the FY2015 fiscal year.   The major headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is the lack of any movement in EB-2 India, the notable forward movement in EB-3 India and the major retrogression in EB-3 China.

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

Below is a summary of the August 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 remains unchanged at October 1, 2008.  EB-2 China moves forward by two and a half (2.5) months to December 15 2013.
  • EB-3 ROW and Mexico advance by three and a half (3.5) months to July 15, 2015.   EB-3 Philippines is available again but with a cutoff date of June 1, 2004.   EB-3 China  retrogresses substantially by about seven years (!) to June 1, 2004 while EB-3 India  advances (significantly by its standards) by four (4) months to0 June 1, 2004.
  • The “other worker” categories for ROW and Mexico advance by three and a half  (3.5) months to July 15, 2015 while Philippines is available with a cutoff date of June 1, 2004.    Other workers China moves back by about two years back to January 1, 2004 while India  advances by four (4) months to June 1, 2004.
  • EB-5 China remains unchanged at September 1, 2013.

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

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

  • FB-1 ROW, China and India move forward by one (1) month to November 1, 2007.   FB-1 Mexico remains unchanged at November 15, 1994 and FB-1 Philippines also remains unchanged at March 15, 2000.
  • FB-2A moves forward again — this month the forward movement is by five (5) weeks to December 15, 2013 for ROW, China, India and Philippines.  It moves forward by five (5) weeks to November 1, 2013  for Mexico.

EB-3 China Major Retrogression

Many of our EB-3 China readers and clients will be alarmed by the significant retrogression in the EB-3 China category.    The reason behind this sharp retrogression is the significant demand and number of filings under the EB-3 China category 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-3 China filings.

It is our expectation that once the new fiscal year begins with the October 2015 Visa Bulletin the cutoff dates for EB-3 China will return to their July 2015 levels  (September 2011).

EB-2 India Unchanged – Is Any Forward Movement Likely for the Rest of the Fiscal Year?

After several months of nice forward movement during the beginning and the middle of this fiscal year, this month’s Visa Bulletin lack of movement in EB-2 India, together with last month’s lack of any movement  would be disappointing to many EB-2 India applicants who were hoping for 2009 or 2010 cutoff dates by the end of the fiscal year.

EB-2 India applicants with a priority date earlier than October 1, 2008 can now move forward with their applications (or expect approvals if they have already filed their I-485 applications).    Over the last few months, in our Visa Bulletin reports we have been cautioning that the rate of forward movement is slowing down, suggesting that it may eventually stop or even retrogress.      The fact that the Department of State is not advancing EB-2 India over the last couple of months is a strong indication that they have sufficient applications on file to use the available visa numbers for the remainder of the fiscal year.

During a recent report Mr. Charles Oppenheim has also reported that he does not expect that there would be many EB-2 ROW spillover numbers which he can allocate to EB-2 India towards the end of the fiscal year; as a result, it appears likely that there may not be any additional forward movement in EB-2 India until the October 2015 Visa Bulletin.

EB-5 China Cutoff Date

Based on significant demand in the EB-5 category from Chinese nationals, the Department of State had introduced a cutoff date for EB-5 China over the last few months.   The cutoff date for this month remains unchanged at September 1, 2013.

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 August 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 August 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.

No comments

Visa Bulletin Updates from Mr. Charles Oppenheim (June 2015)

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 June 12, 2015.

EB-2 Worldwide (ROW)

Mr. Oppenheim reiterated that there has been a significant increase in the demand of visa numbers in this category with demand far in excess of the historical patterns of the previous five months.    As an example, Mr. Oppenheim indicated that there was 80% demand increase from February to March 2015 and demand increased more than 100% between February and April 2015.     Despite this significant increase in demand in EB-2 ROW visa numbers, it is not expected at this time that there will be a cutoff date for this category and it is likely to remain current.

EB-2/EB-3 India

As a result of the significant forward movement in EB-2 India earlier this year, additional forward movement for the next few months is unlikely mainly due to EB-3 to EB-2 upgrades.  Additionally, because demand for EB-2 ROW has more than doubled unexpectedly over the past few months, EB-2 India cut-off date had to be held steady in the July 2015 Visa Bulletin. Unless there is a significant decline in EB-2 ROW demand, Mr. Oppenheim does not anticipate any forward movement in EB-2 India for the rest of this fiscal year (September 30).

EB-3 India is expected to continue to advance by one to two weeks per month.  This has been the recent trend over the past several months.

EB-2/EB-3 China

Demand in EB-2 China has been steady and gradual forward movement is expected over the next several months.     The EB-3 China cut-off date is expected to remain the same through the rest of the fiscal year (September 30).

EB-5 China

EB-5 China is expected to continue to advance,very likely as far as November 2013 towards the end of the fiscal year.

EB-3/Other Workers Philippines

After the category became unavailable in the July 2015 Visa Bulletin, it is expected to remain unavailable for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Conclusion

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.

No comments

July 2015 Visa Bulletin – EB-2 India Remains Unchanged; EB-3 Philippines Unavailable

The U.S. State Department has just released the July 2015 Visa Bulletin which is the tenth Visa Bulletin for the FY2015 fiscal year.   The major headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is the lack of any movement in EB-2 India and EB-3 China and that EB-3 Philippines is unavailable.

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

Below is a summary of the July 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 remains unchanged at October 1, 2008.  EB-2 China moves forward by four (4) months to October 1, 2013.
  • EB-3 ROW and Mexico advance by six (6) weeks to April 1, 2015.   EB-3 Philippines is unavailable.   EB-3 China  remains unchanged at September 1, 2011 while EB-3 India  advances by only one (1) week to February 1, 2004.
  • The “other worker” categories for ROW and Mexico advance by six (6) weeks to April 1, 2015 while Philippines is unavailable.     Other workers China remains unchanged at January 1, 2006 while India  advances by only one (1) week to February 1, 2004.
  • EB-5 China advances by four (4) months to September 1, 2013.

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

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

  • FB-1 ROW, China and India move forward by one (1) month to October 1, 2007.   FB-1 Mexico remains unchanged at November 15, 1994 while FB-1 Philippines moves forward but by only two (2) weeks to March 15, 2000.
  • FB-2A moves forward again — this month the forward movement is by five (5) weeks to November 8, 2013 for ROW, China, India and Philippines.  It moves forward by five (5) weeks to September 15, 2013  for Mexico.

EB-2 India Unchanged – Is Any Forward Movement Likely for the Rest of the Fiscal Year?

After several months of nice forward movement, this month’s Visa Bulletin lack of movement in EB-2 India may be disappointing to many EB-2 India applicants who were hoping for 2009 or 2010 cutoff dates by the end of the fiscal year.

EB-2 India applicants with a priority date earlier than October 1, 2008 can now move forward with their applications (or expect approvals if they have already filed their I-485 applications).    Over the last few months, in our Visa Bulletin reports we have been cautioning that the rate of forward movement is slowing down, suggesting that it may eventually stop or even retrogress.      The fact that the Department of State is not advancing EB-2 India this month is an indication that they have sufficient applications on file to use the available visa numbers for the remainder of the fiscal year.    However, as we are getting into the final two months of the fiscal year, it is possible to see additional forward movements in the August and September 2015 Visa Bulletins to accommodate any additional visa numbers who may be made available from other preference categories.

EB-2 China Advances Significantly; EB-3 China Moderate Forward Movement

EB-2 China continues to advance this month.  This month’s forward movement of 4 months, combined with last couple of months’ movements, are among the more significant movements in EB-2 China for some time.   EB-3 China, on the other hand, seems to experience significant demand and, as a result, there is no movement this month.

We had noted in our earlier Visa Bulletin alerts that the demand in EB-3 China is expected to rise with the forward date movement and it now seems that the Department of State is trying to moderate the demand by keeping the date steady.

EB-3 Philippines Unavailable

The significant demand in EB-3 for Philippines has caused the Department of State to move back the date significantly over the last few months and this month they are making this category “Unavailable.”   This means that there are no visa numbers available for EB-3 Philippines during July 2015.  This means that the government cannot authorize any visas for this category — no green card approvals are likely and no new I-485 adjustment of status applications can be filed (regardless of the priority date).

EB-5 China Cutoff Date

Based on significant demand in the EB-5 category from Chinese nationals, the Department of State had introduced a cutoff date for EB-5 China over the last few months.   The good news is that this month’s Visa Bulletin moves forward the cutoff date by four months to September 1, 2013.

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 July 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 July 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.

No comments

Visa Bulletin Updates from Mr. Charles Oppenheim (May 2015)

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 May 14, 2015.

EB-2 Worldwide (ROW)

Mr. Oppenheim indicated that there is significant increase in the demand of visa numbers in this category with demand far in excess of the historical patterns of the previous five months.    As an example, Mr. Oppenheim indicated that there was 80% demand increase from February to March 2015 and demand increased more than 100% between February and April 2015.     Despite this significant increase in demand in EB-2 ROW visa numbers, it is not expected at this time that there will be a cutoff date for this category and it is likely to remain current.

EB-2/EB-3 China

Demand in EB-2 China has been low and may result in numbers “falling down” and being allocated to EB-3 China.   Recently, the EB-2 China cut-off date has been advanced by almost three years with the hope that this kind of movement will create demand.   Earlier when the cut-off date for China EB-3 was advanced due to insufficient number use, it prompted EB-2s to downgrade to EB-3. Mr. Oppenheim does not have good “visibility” over the number of upgrades or downgrades as no data is available to him until final action occurs on the petition.   This makes it difficult to predict reliably how many China candidates are ready for EB-2 or EB-3 adjudication – as a result, sudden movements in the cutoff dates are possible.

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.

EB-5 China

The cut-off date of May 1, 2013 that was imposed in the May 2015 Visa Bulletin will remain for June. Mr. Oppenheim continues to monitor demand for EB-5 China and has no additional predictions for the category at this time.  Applicants continue to become documentarily qualified and the level of demand in May was within his targeted projections for June number use. There is huge demand in terms of petitions pending final action at USCIS as well as approved petitions which are already at the NVC. It must be remembered that not all cases with a priority date earlier than May 1, 2013 have been processed to conclusion.

EB-3/Other Workers Philippines

Heavy demand in these categories continues and further corrective action (retrogression) may be necessary before the end of the fiscal year. Like the dramatic increase in worldwide EB-2 demand, the use of more than 2,000 numbers during a two-month period was totally unexpected based on USCIS demand from the past year.   This kind of surge in the demand of Philippine visa numbers is likely to cause long wait times for EB-3/OW candidates.

EB-2 India

The increase in demand for EB-2 ROW visa numbers which we mentioned above would mean that there will be fewer visa numbers remaining available for allocation to EB-2 India.   Mr. Oppenheim had previously indicated that he expects to advance EB-2 India to July/August 2009 by the end of the fiscal year (September 30, 2015); however, given the high demand for EB-2 ROW visa numbers and fewer available visas for EB-2 India, this kind of forward movement in EB-2 India may not be possible over the next few months.

Conclusion

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.

No comments

June 2015 Visa Bulletin – EB-2 India and China Continue to Advance Notably; EB-3 Philippines Another Major Retrogression

The U.S. State Department has just released the June 2015 Visa Bulletin which is the ninth Visa Bulletin for the FY2015 fiscal year.   The major headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is the continued significant (5.5 months) forward movement in EB-2 India and the 12-month forward movement in EB-2 China.    EB-3 Philippines moves back again by two and a half years.

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

Below is a summary of the June 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 moves forward significantly by five and a half (5.5) months to October 1, 2008.  EB-2 China moves forward by twelve (12) months to June 1, 2013.
  • EB-3 ROW and Mexico advance by six (6) weeks to February 15, 2015.   EB-3 Philippines retrogresses (again!) by over two and a half (2.5) years back to January 1, 2005.   EB-3 China moves forward by four (4) months to September 1, 2011 while EB-3 India  advances by only one (1) week to January 22, 2004.
  • The “other worker” categories for ROW and Mexico advance by six (6) weeks to February 15, 2015 while Philippines retrogresses (again) by two and a half (2.5) years back to January 1, 2005.   Other workers China moves forward by six (6) weeks to January 1, 2006 while India  advances by only one (1) week to January 22, 2004.
  • EB-5 China now has a cutoff date of May 1, 2013.

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

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

  • FB-1 ROW, China and India move forward by only two (2) weeks to September 1, 2007.   FB-1 Mexico moves forward by one (1) week to November 15, 1994 while FB-1 Philippines retrogresses by about five years to March 1, 2000.
  • FB-2A moves forward again, this month the forward movement is by one (1) month to October 1, 2013 for ROW, China, India and Philippines.  It remains unchanged at August 8, 2013  for Mexico.

Another EB-2 India Significant (but Slowing) Forward Movement

This month’s Visa Bulletin brings another significant forward movement in EB-2 India of five and a half months which is a bit less than last two months’ forward movements of about eight months.    Overall, EB-2 India has by about three years over the last few months so this is certain a good sign.      EB-2 India applicants with a priority date earlier than October 1, 2008 can now move forward with their applications (or expect approvals if they have already filed their I-485 applications).    However, it should be noted that the rate of forward movement is slowing down, suggesting that the Department of State may be trying to account for increasing demand in new filings and approvals in EB-2 India.

The Department of State had indicated that EB-2 India may move forward by four to six months per Visa Bulletin over the summer months  so we expect the forward movement in EB-2 India over the next few months to be similarly moderate.

EB-2 China Advances Significantly; EB-3 China Moderate Forward Movement

EB-2 China continues to advance this month.  This month’s forward movement of 12 months, combined with last month’s movement of fourteen months, are among the more significant movements in EB-2 China for some time.   EB-3 China also advances this month (after a significant retrogression two months ago) by four months.    We had noted in our earlier Visa Bulletin alerts that the demand in EB-3 China is expected to rise with the forward date movement and it now seems that the Department of State is trying to moderate the demand by retrogressing (two months ago) and then advancing gradually (last two months) the cutoff dates.

EB-5 China Cutoff Date

Based on significant demand in the EB-5 category from Chinese nationals, the Department of State had introduced a cutoff date for EB-5 China in the last month’s Visa Bulletin.   EB-5 China remains unchanged this month at May 1, 2013.   Further retrogression is also possible (not immediately expected) based on the number of demand from Chinese nationals in this category (which demand has been very strong recently).

EB-3 Philippines (Another) Major Retrogression

Unfortunately for many EB-3 Philippines applicants, the EB-3 category moves back by another two and a half years this month, in addition to last month’s retrogression by over seven years.  This is a significant retrogression caused by high demand in this category and the Department of State has indicated that additional retrogression may be needed as well.

It is important to note that EB-3/OW Philippines applicants who have a cutoff date which is current now and who would no longer be current as of June 1st to consider filing their I-485s immediately (if they are in the US) or take other steps to take advantage of the current priority date.   EB-3/OW Philippines candidates who have a priority date between July 1, 2007 and January 1, 2005 will be affected — please contact us for a consultation and analysis of your personal case situation.

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 June 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 June 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.

No comments

May 2015 Visa Bulletin – EB-2 India and China Continue to Advance Notably; EB-3 Philippines Major Retrogression; EB-5 China Cutoff Date

The U.S. State Department has just released the May 2015 Visa Bulletin which is the eighth Visa Bulletin for the FY2015 fiscal year.   The major headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is the significant 7.5-month forward movement in EB-2 India and the 14-month forward movement in EB-2 China.    EB-3 Philippines moves back by seven years and EB-5 China now has a cutoff date.

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

Below is a summary of the May 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 moves forward significantly by seven and a half (7.5) months to April 15, 2008.  EB-2 China moves forward by fourteen (14) months to June 1, 2012.
  • EB-3 ROW and Mexico advance by three (3) months to January 1, 2015.   EB-3 Philippines retrogresses by over seven (7) years back to July 1, 2007.   EB-3 China moves forward by four (4) months to May 1, 2011 while EB-3 India  advances by only one (1) week to January 15, 2004.
  • The “other worker” categories for ROW and Mexico advance by three (3) months to January 1, 2015 while Philippines retrogresses by over seven (7) years back to July 1, 2007.   Other workers China moves forward by three (3) months to November 15, 2005 while India  advances by only one (1) week to January 15, 2004.
  • EB-5 China now has a cutoff date of May 1, 2013.

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

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

  • FB-1 ROW, China and India move forward by two (2) weeks to August 15, 2007.   FB-1 Mexico moves forward by one (1) week to November 8, 1994 while FB-1 Philippines remains unchanged at February 1, 2005.
  • FB-2A moves forward again, this month the forward movement is by one (1) month to September 1, 2013 for ROW, China, India and Philippines.  It also moves forward by one (1) months to August 8, 2013  for Mexico.

Another EB-2 India Significant Forward Movement

This month’s Visa Bulletin brings another significant forward movement in EB-2 India of seven and a half months which is very similar to last month’s eight-month forward movement.  Overall, EB-2 India has advanced by well over two years over the last few months so this is certain a good sign.      EB-2 India applicants with a priority date earlier than April 15, 2008 can now move forward with their applications (or expect approvals if they have already filed their I-485 applications).

The Department of State had indicated that EB-2 India may move forward by four to six months per Visa Bulletin over the next few months so we expect the forward movement in EB-2 India over the next few months to be similarly moderate.

EB-2 China Advances Significantly; EB-3 China Moderate Forward Movement

EB-2 China continues to advance this month.  In fact, this month’s forward movement of 14 months is one of the more significant movements in EB-2 China for some time.   EB-3 China also advances (after a significant retrogression last month) by four months.   We had noted in our earlier Visa Bulletin alerts that the demand in EB-3 China is expected to rise with the forward date movement and it now seems that the Department of State is trying to moderate the demand by retrogressing (last month) and then advancing gradually (this month) the cutoff dates.

EB-5 China Cutoff Date

Based on significant demand in the EB-5 category from Chinese nationals, the Department of State has introduced a cutoff date for EB-5 China.     Further retrogression is also possible (not immediately expected) based on the number of demand from Chinese nationals in this category (which demand has been very strong recently).

EB-3 Philippines Major Retrogression

One significant development is the major retrogression in EB-3 and Other Workers Philippines.   The cutoff dates for these categories are set to move back by over seven years — from October 2014 back to July 2007.   This is a significant retrogression caused by high demand in this category.

It is important to note that EB-3/OW Philippines applicants who have a cutoff date which is current now and who would no longer be current as of May 1st to consider filing their I-485s immediately (if they are in the US) or take other steps to take advantage of the current priority date.   EB-3/OW Philippines candidates who have a priority date between October 1, 2014 and July 1, 2007 will be affected — please contact us for a consultation and analysis of your personal case situation.

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 May 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 May 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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Visa Bulletin Updates and Predictions from Mr. Oppenheim (March 2015)

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.

EB-2/EB-3 China

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.

EB-5 China

Retrogression is likely to occur no later than June 2015.

EB-2 India

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.

EB-3 India

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.

Conclusion

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.

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April 2015 Visa Bulletin – EB-2 India and China Continue to Advance Notably; EB-3 China Significant Retrogression

The U.S. State Department has just released the April 2015 Visa Bulletin which is the seventh Visa Bulletin for the FY2015 fiscal year.   The major headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is the significant eight-month forward movement in EB-2 India and the seven-month forward movement in EB-2 China.    EB-3 also moves forward nicely with the notable exception of EB-3 China which goes back by 9 months.

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

Below is a summary of the April 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 moves forward significantly by eight (8) months to September 1, 2007.  EB-2 China moves forward by seven (7) months to April 1, 2011.
  • EB-3 ROW, Mexico and Philippines advance by four (4) months to October 1, 2014.   EB-3 China retrogresses by about nine (9) months back to January 1, 2011 (from October 22, 2011) while EB-3 India  advances by only one (1) week to January 8, 2004.
  • The “other worker” categories for ROW, Mexico and Philippines advance by four  (4) months to October 1, 2014.   EB-3 China remains unchanged at August 15, 2005 while EB-3 India  advances by one (1) week to January 8, 2004.

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

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

  • FB-1 ROW, China and India all remain unchanged at August 1, 2007.   FB-1 Mexico moves forward by one (1) week to November 1, 1994 while FB-1 Philippines remains unchanged at February 1, 2005.
  • FB-2A moves forward again, but by not as much – it moves forward by five (5) weeks to August 1, 2013 for ROW, China, India and Philippines.  It also moves forward by six (6) weeks to July 8, 2013  for Mexico.

Another EB-2 India Significant Forward Movement But By Not as Much as Last Month

This month’s Visa Bulletin brings another significant forward movement in EB-2 India of eight months; however, it is not as significant as the forward movement in last month (April) visa bulletin (of sixteen months).  Overall, however, EB-2 India has advanced by two years over the last two months so this is certain a good sign.       EB-2 India applicants with a priority date earlier than September 1, 2007 can now move forward (or expect news, hopefully approval) with their applications.

The Department of State had indicated that EB-2 India may move forward by four to six months per Visa Bulletin over the next few months so we expect the forward movement in EB-2 India over the next few months to be similarly moderate.

EB-2 China Advances while EB-3 China Retrogresses Significantly

While EB-2 China advances nicely by seven months in this Visa Bulletin, EB-3 China moves back by almost ten months to January 1, 2011.   This retrogression is caused by the high number of EB-3 China filings over the last weeks and months, caused by the rapid advancement in the EB-3 China date over the recent months.    We had noted in our earlier Visa Bulletin alerts that the demand in EB-3 China is expected to rise with the forward date movement and it now seems that the Department of State “sees” sufficient demand to stop the rate of filings by moving back the cutoff date.

It is important to note that EB-3 China applicants who have a cutoff date which is current now and who would no longer be current as of April 1 to consider filing their I-485s immediately (if they are in the US) or take other steps to take advantage of the current priority date.   EB-3 China candidates who have a priority date between October 22, 2011 and January 1, 2011 will be affected — please contact us for a consultation and analysis of your personal case situation.

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 April 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 April 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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March 2015 Visa Bulletin – EB-2 India Advances Significantly by Sixteen Months; EB-3 Advances But More Slowly

The U.S. State Department has just released the March 2015 Visa Bulletin which is the sixth Visa Bulletin for the FY2015 fiscal year.   The major headline in the upcoming month’s Visa Bulletin is the significant (16-week) forward movement in EB-2 India and the continued forward movement in the EB-3 preference category (even though some slowdown is noticeable).

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

Below is a summary of the March 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 moves forward significantly by sixteen (16) months to January 1, 2007.  EB-2 China moves forward by four and a half (4.5) months to September 1, 2010.
  • EB-3 ROW, Mexico and Philippines advance by five (5) months to June 1, 2014.   EB-3 China advances by seven (7) weeks to October 22, 2011 while EB-3 India  advances by only one (1) week to January 1, 2004.
  • The “other worker” categories for ROW, Mexico and Philippines advance by five (5) months to June 1, 2014.   EB-3 China remains unchanged at August 15, 2005 while EB-3 India  advances by one (1) week to January 1, 2004.

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

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

  • FB-1 ROW, China and India all move forward by only one (1) week to August 1, 2007.   FB-1 Mexico moves forward by three (3) weeks to October 22, 1994 and FB-1 Philippines moves forward by three (3) weeks to February 1, 2005.
  • FB-2A moves forward again  – it moves forward by six (6) weeks to June 22, 2013 for ROW, China, India and Philippines.  It also moves forward by one (1) month to May 22, 2013  for Mexico.

Another EB-2 India Significant Forward Movement

Most people who follow closely the movements in the Visa Bulletin with respect to EB-2 India were surprised last month when the Department of State announced that EB-2 India would move forward by four to six months per month over the next several months.   This month’s Visa Bulletin brings another (good for EB-2 India) surprise – the forward movement this month is of sixteen months, to January 1, 2007.    EB-2 India applicants with a priority date earlier than January 1, 2007 can now move forward (or expect news, hopefully approval) with their applications.

We continue to anticipate significant forward cutoff date movements for the next few  months – by four to six months per Visa Bulletin.

EB-3 Continues to Move Forward Significantly

Another notable and important development in the March 2015 Visa Bulletin is the continued notable forward movement in the EB-3 categories.    Most of the EB-3 categories have advanced by five months, with EB-3 China moving forward by only seven weeks.     This should be welcome news to many EB-3 applicants (except EB-3 India where the forward movement is only of one week) who may be eligible for I-485 filings or processing of their immigrant visas at the U.S. Consulates abroad.    We are happy to provide a free quote for preparing and filing your I-485 application to those EB-2 India and EB-3 applicants (and other) who are seeing an advancing and current (or soon to be current) priority date.

While it appears that the rate of forward movement in EB-3 is decreasing, it should be noted that these categories have been advancing rapidly over the last few months and some slowdown should be expected.

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 March 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 March 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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