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March Visa Bulletin Shows Modest Movement in EB-3


The  March Visa Bulletin has been released by the Department of State. Chinese nationals in the EB-2 category will experience a one month advancement from January 15, 2008 to February 15, 2008; while Indian nationals remain at September 1, 2004, which has not changed since the end of 2012. In the meantime, Mexican, Filipino, and nationals from all other areas of chargeability remain current through March 2013.

All of those in the EB-3 category will see advancements in their priority dates. China, Mexico, and all other chargeability areas will see a two month advancement, while India will advance only eight days. Filipino nationals will advance ten days.

As always, due to the fear of retrogression, its vitally important that I-485 applications be filed in the first month of visa availability. If your priority date is current or will become current based on the March 2013 visa bulletin, please contact our office.

For additional information regarding the Visa Bulletin, or any other immigration matters, please contact Valentine at 215-979-1840 or at vbrown@duanemorris.com.

 
 
 
 

January Visa Bulletin: Steady Advancement for Employment Third Preference


The U.S. Department of State has released the January Visa Bulletin and it looks like 2013 is off to a good start, especially with regard to the EB-3 category which will see small advancements in four of the five areas of chargeability.  In the EB-2 category, Chinese nationals will see a two month advancement from October 22, 2007 to December 8, 2007; while Indian nationals will remain at September 1, 2004.  Mexican, Filipino, and nationals from all other areas of chargeability remain current through January 2013.  Those in the EB-3 category, with the exception of Filipino nationals, will all see advancements in priority dates.  Chinese, Mexican, and all other chargeability areas will see a two month advancement, while Indian nationals will an advancement of seven days.  See the chart below:   

 

Employment Based Third Preference

 

All Chargeability Areas Except those listed

China- mainland born

India

 

Mexico 

Philippines 

December

12/22/2006

07/01/2006

11/01/2002 

12/22/2006

08/15/2006 

 

January

02/01/2007

 

09/22/2006

11/08/2002

02/01/2007

08/15/2006

  

As always, due to the possibility of retrogression, its vitally important that I-485 applications be filed in the first month of visa availability.  If your priority date is current or will become current based on the January 2013 visa bulletin, please contact our office.

 For additional information regarding the Visa Bulletin, or any other immigration matters, please contact Valentine at 215-979-1840 or at vbrown@duanemorris.com.  

 
 
 
 

Visa Office Predicts Significant Movement for EB-2 India & China; But EB-3 India Stuck in Neutral


Last week,  Charles Oppenheim, the man behind the mysterious Visa Bulletin curtain, also known as Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division of the Department of State,  made some significant predictions regarding priority date movement in the coming months.

 The best news came for Indian and Chinese nationals in the EB-2 category. For these individuals, Mr. Oppenheim predicted  that priority dates  would be advanced “significantly” over the next few visa bulletins. He indicated that “significantly” could mean a four month jump to March 1, 2008 for the December bulletin, and that this trend could continue into the January and February 2012 bulletins.  He also predicted that EB-2 for the Rest of the World (ROW) category will remain current throughout 2012.

The worst news came for Indian nationals in the EB-3 category. Mr. Oppenheim  predicted that the category will remain stagnant throughout the year. This is due to the per country limitations placed on each visa category, which for Indians in EB-3 amounts to only 3000 green cards per year. The queue in this category is estimated at 210,000, thus making a 70 year wait, “plausible” according to Oppenheim.  There is  some hope on the horizon for persons in EB-3 due to pending legislation, which would eliminate the per country limitation. See my previous blog on this topic for more information.

Although the news is not as bad for Chinese nationals in EB-3,- a steady advancement of one to three weeks per month for the next several months - it still means long waits for visa numbers for applicants in this category.  The wait may be shorter for those EB-3 applicants in the ROW category, as Oppenheim predicts a 3-4 week movement per month for the next several months. The chart below demonstrates what these advancements might look like over the next seven months. Please note that this is only a prediction, but may help applicants prepare their finances, travel plans and documentation for possible filing of adjustment of status applications.

   Dec '11  Jan '12  Feb '12  Mar '12  Apr '12  May '12  June '12
 EB-2 India & China  03/01/2008  07/01/2008  11/01/2008  11/01/2008  11/01/2008  11/01/2008

Possible Retrogression

 EB-3 China  09/12/2004  10/3/2004  10/24/2004  11/14/2004  12/5/2004  12/26/2004  01/15/2005
 EB-3 India  07/22/2002  07/22/2002  08/01/2002  08/01/2002  08/15/2002  08/15/2002  08/22/2002
 EB-3 ROW 01/22/2006  02/15/2006  03/15/2006  04/07/2006  04/21/2006  05/15/2006  06/04/2006

Number crunching by the Visa Office is a difficult business. As explained by Oppenheim, it is a guessing game for several reasons; (1) it is impossible to identify the exact number of people in the queue because the number of spouses and  minor children  who will be counted against the visa numbers are unknown until they actually apply for a visa number. This has been especially the case in EB-3, as the long waits have increased, applicants’ families have grown. (2) Visa numbers are not actually requested until the end of the green card application process, leaving a 6 month lag time between priority date movement and actual visa allocation by the State Department. This problem is what often leads to the retrogression in the priority dates.

Oppenheim stated that retrogression of EB-2 for India and China is a good possibility in the Summer of 2012, due to the inexact science of visa number usage estimation.   Oppenheim’s  theory is that he will advance the numbers significantly in the early part of the Fiscal Year, develop a queue for visa numbers, hold the dates steady from  March 2012-June 2012,  to allow USCIS to catch up with visa allocation then retrogress in June 2012 or later if necessary.  Even though retrogression is unnerving to those affected by it, it is a better result than having precious visa numbers unused and then lost forever if they are not allocated before 9/30/2012.  Based upon this timeline, it is possible that there could be additional EB-2 movement in September 2012 to ensure that all of the numbers are used before the fiscal year ends on September 30, 2012.

With the possibility of retrogression, it is important to get I-485 applications filed in the first month of visa availability.

Just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, we have been fooled before by the Visa Office, so there is no use in getting too excited by the good news, as it means that certain applicants will be able to file their green card applications earlier than they might have previously thought. But for those Indian nationals in EB-3 who have been debating whether to do the necessary to refile in EB-2, this confirms their worst fears, and suggests that all steps necessary to get in to EB-2  be initiated, the sooner the better.

We are prepared to handle the anticipated significant movement in the EB-2 China and India Categories. Please contact us if we can be of any assistance. vbrown@duanemorris.com; 215 979 1840.

 

 
 
 
 

EB-2 India Expected to Advance in May 2011


The cutoff date for EB-2, India, is expected to advance in May 2011. This advancement will occur in the U.S. Department of State (DOS) Visa Bulletin for May 2011. The Visa Bulletin for May 2011 will be published in early to mid April 2011.

Charlie Oppenheim, Chief, Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State, informed the American Immigration lawyers Association of a dramatic reduction in the use of EB-1 numbers. He stated:

“[US]CIS says they have seen a decline in filings, and does not expect a change in the number use pattern. Therefore, this decline in EB-1 number use will allow me to begin having those ‘otherwise unused’ numbers drop down and be available for use in the EB-2 category. Based on current indications, that would mean that at least 12,000 additional numbers will be available to the EB-2 category. This situation will allow me to advance the India EB-2 cut-off date for May. The reason being that all ‘otherwise unused’ numbers are provided strictly in priority date order, and the India demand has the largest concentration of early dates.”

It is impossible to predict just how much advancement there will be, but we will know in mid April. If a priority date becomes current on May 1, 2011, the foreign national may submit his or her I-485 application any time after May 1, 2011 and will be immediately eligible for permanent residence as long as the priority date stays current.

We will keep you updated on any additional developments.

 
 
 
 
 

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.