Posts Tagged 'preference category'

July 2014 Visa Bulletin Commentary- EB2 India Sees Significant Advancement!

visa-passport blog picThe July 2014 visa bulletin was released this morning.

Headline: EB2 India sees a jump forward of 3 years, 9 months and 18 days.  

Here is what my readers are looking for:

For all countries except India, China, Philippines, and Mexico: No movement in F2A category since last month’s retrogression leaving priority date at 1 May 2012, F2B preference advanced 30 days with PD at 1 May 2007;  F4 category advanced 7 days to PD at 22 December 2001;  EB2 is current and, and EB3 sees no movement since last month’s retrogression leaving to PD at 1 April 2011.

For India only:  No movement in F2A category since last months retrogression leaving priority date at 1 May 2012, F2B preference advanced 30 days with PD at 1 May 2007;  F4 category advanced 7 days to PD at 22 December 2001;  EB India sees huge jump forward of 3 years, 9 months and 18 days taking PD to 1 September 2008 and EB3 sees some forward movement of 15 days taking us to priority date 1 November 2003.

With the significant jump forward for EB3 India, it is important for those who are eligible to prepare filing your I-485 package as soon as possible.  Please note you cannot file until July 1st and while the priority date remains current for you.  Good luck to those who can file!

We will report on the August 2014 visa bulletin when it is released.

 

Priority date updates from AILA and Charlie Oppenheim

(copied from AILA)

Visa Office Update on Priority Dates and Demand (Updated 4/28/14)

Cite as “AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 12012349 (posted Apr. 28, 2014)”

April 2014:On Monday April 21, 2014 Mr. Charlie Oppenheim of the Department of State’s Visa Office (VO) spoke to AILA members Roberta Freedman and Michael Nowlan regarding what his office is currently seeing with regard to visa demand and what might be expected in terms of Visa Bulletin movement at this time. Below are notes from that call. It is important for AILA members to remember that these notes are based on Mr. Oppenheim’s impressions at this time, and are subject to change based on usage and/or new developments. All projections, including those that are noted in the Visa Bulletin are subject to change depending on demand that is reported or observed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) in “real time.”General Notes: The National Visa Center (NVC) is now sending out requests for payments 8 to 12 months in advance the of the priority date becoming “current.” The NVC had previously been contacting applicants 12 to 18 months in advance. Applicants processing abroad appear to be waiting until their priority date is current, or almost current, to pay the fees. This could be to avoid the long delay where the visa fees are held without a visa being issued. Once payment is received, it helps the VO confirm the actual demand overseas.

The VO expects to be able to make predictions regarding worldwide (WW) FB-2A, WW EB-3 and China EB-3 in May (see below) which could be realized in the July Visa Bulletin, or perhaps sooner.

Family Based Second Preference 2A Worldwide (FB-2A):

  • Demand is starting to catch up. FB-2A for Mexico will retrogress soon and more than the WW reported dates. It appears that the WW FB-2A category will also retrogress, perhaps back to 2012 in the June or July Visa Bulletin.
  • Why the retrogression? USCIS seems to be processing more approvals. It is possible that some FB-2A beneficiaries were holding off on filing for green cards in anticipation of comprehensive immigration reform, and demand is now “catching up” to the posted dates.
  • 85% to 95% of these cases are processed at U.S. consulates.
  • The VO was not able to confirm whether I-601 processing by USCIS had a positive or negative impact on the demand for visa numbers. The NVC may have that data.

Family Based Second Preference 2B Worldwide (FB-2B):

  • Demand is down right now, so movement is expected to continue to advance.
  • It is likely the same scenario will occur in the next fiscal year that occurred with WW FB-2A. Specifically, that demand will increase as the category is advanced and then there will be high demand, which will reduce forward movement.

Employment Based 5th Preference China (EB-5):

  • China EB5 could retrogress later this year, possibly August or September.
  • Retrogression for China EB-5 in the 2015 fiscal year seems almost inevitable, as there are over 7,000 I-526 applications pending and 80% are from China.
  • More on this topic is expected to be known in the next few weeks, and will be shared at an upcoming panel in May with AILA Past-President Bernie Wolfsdorf.

Employment Based 1st Preference (EB-1):

  • It is still a little early in the fiscal year to know how many unused cases will drop down into EB-2. EB-1 usage is heavier this year than last year.

Employment Based 2nd Preference India (EB-2):

  • It is possible in August, but more likely in September, that India EB-2 will open at 1/1/2008 or perhaps later in 2008, in order to utilize the rest of the EB-2 visa numbers that were unused by the WW categories.
  • How many numbers will be utilized depends on EB-1 and EB-2 usage in the WW categories for the rest of the fiscal year (it could be 5,000 or more). This would be less than what was available in fiscal year 2013.
  • No expected changes for WW EB-2.

Employment Based 3rd Preference Worldwide (EB-3):

  • The VO has limited knowledge as to the number of eligible applicants, and USCIS has encouraged DOS to “move the category forward” over the last 5 months. Demand appears to be increasing, thus, it is unlikely in the short run that the category will move forward. In fact, if current demand continues, something may have to be done as early as May 2014 to slow the demand in this category.
  • The last quarter of the fiscal year for 2014 does not look good, and no movement, or retrogression, is possible.PRACTICE POINTER: Do not delay on filing I-485 adjustment of status cases. WW EB-3 could retrogress as early as May or June so encourage your clients to file their cases now if their priority dates are current. The category may not be available as early as May.

Employment Based 3rd Preference China (EB-3):

  • Many Chinese nationals who were waiting in the EB-2 category have been filing to “downgrade” from EB-2 to EB-3, and the result of these requests will be reflected in the coming months. For more information, see “Multiple I-140s, Priority Date Retention, and the 2013 China EB-2/EB-3 Anomaly.
  • High demand is expected to continue in this category and a correction may be reflected as early as the May or June Visa Bulletin, depending on demand.
  • If China FB-2A retrogresses because of the WW FB-2A retrogression discussed above, the unused FB demand could be used by China EB-3.PRACTICE POINTER: Do not delay on filing I-485 adjustment of status cases. China EB-3 could retrogress as early as May or June, so encourage your clients to file their cases now if their priority dates are current. The category may not be available as early as May.

December 2013 Visa Bulletin Commentary- Retrogression is here.

visa-passport blog picDecember 2013 Visa Bulletin comes with a mixed bag of good and bad news.  While F2A has not moved (good news) and with a one year advancement of EB3 for all countries, India sees a huge retrogression in EB2 and slight retrogression in EB3.  Relevant section from the visa bulletin is copied below.  Our usual commentary is here:

The December 2013 visa bulletin was released today. Here’s the pertinent information most of my readers are looking for:

For ALL countries except Mexico: F2A preference remains the same as last month with PD for all countries at 8 September 2013 and for Mexico only at 1 September 2013. Still good news.

For all countries except India, China, Philippines, and Mexico: F2B preference advanced 40 days with PD at 1 May 2006;  F4 category advances 17 days to PD at 8 September 2001;  EB2 is current and, and EB3  has SIGNIFICANT movement with PD JUMPING one year (!) to 1 October 2011.

For India only: F2B preference advanced 40 days with PD at 1 May 2006;  F4 category advances 17 days to PD at 8 September 2001;

EB2 unfortunately sees a terrible retrogression  of 3 years and 7 months to PD 15 November 2004. (Remember the 167 jump in September? Hope you made the most of it!)

EB3 also sees slight retrogression of 21 days (remember big jump of 244 days  in September too?) leaving PD at 01 Sept 2003.

Reminder that October is the beginning of the fiscal year.  We will write about the January 2014 Visa Bulletin when it is released in due course.

______________________________________________

D. RETROGRESSION OF EMPLOYMENT CUT-OFF DATES
The India Employment Second and Third preference category cut-off dates were advanced very rapidly at the end of fiscal year 2013.  Those movements were based strictly on the availability of thousands of “otherwise unused” numbers which could be made available without regard to the preference per-country annual limits.

The movements have resulted in a dramatic increase in the level of applicant demand received in recent months.  This has required the retrogression of those cut-off dates for December in an effort to hold number use within the numerical limits.

E.  VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS

FAMILY-sponsored categories (potential monthly movement)

Worldwide dates:

F1:  Three to five weeks

F2A: No forward movement, the Mexico cut-off date is likely to retrogress
at some point

F2B: Three to five weeks

F3:  Three to five weeks

F4:  Two or three weeks

EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement)

Employment First:  Current

Employment Second:

Worldwide:  Current

China:  Three to five weeks

India:  No forward movement

Employment Third:
Worldwide:  This cut-off date has been advanced extremely rapidly during the past seven months in an effort to generate new demand.  As the rate of applicants who are able to have action on their cases finalized increases, it could have a significant impact on the cut-off date situation.  The rapid forward movement of this cut-off date should not be expected to continue beyond February.

China:        Expected to remain at the worldwide date

India:        No forward movement

Mexico:       Expected to remain at the worldwide date

Philippines:  Three to six weeks

Employment Fourth: Current

Employment Fifth:  Current

The above projections for the Family and Employment categories are for what is likely to happen during each of the next few months based on current applicant demand patterns.  Readers should never assume that recent trends in cut-off date movements are guaranteed for the future, or that “corrective” action will not be required at some point in an effort to maintain number use within the applicable annual limits.  The determination of the actual monthly cut-off dates is subject to fluctuations in applicant demand and a number of other variables.  Unless indicated, those categories with a “Current” projection will remain so for the foreseeable future.

October 2013 Visa Bulletin Commentary

visa-passport blog picThe October 2013 visa bulletin was released yesterday. Here’s the pertinent information most of my readers are looking for:

For ALL countries including India and China: F2A preference retrogressed 1 day only to Sept. 8, 2013.  That is better than what my expectations were!

For all countries except India, China, Philippines, and Mexico: F2B preference advanced 15 days days with PD at 1 March 2006;  F4 category advances 18 days to PD at 8 August 2001;  EB2 is current and, and EB3  has no movement with PD remaining at 1 July 2010 (you may recall there was a huge jump of 547 days last month).

For India only: F2B preference advanced 15 days days with PD at 1 March 2006;  F4 category advances 18 days to PD at 8 August 2001; EB2 has no movement (remember the 167 jump last month?) leaving PD at 15 June 2008 and EB3 has no movement either (remember big jump of 244 days last month?) leaving PD at 22 Sept 2003.

Reminder that October is the beginning of the fiscal year.  We will write about the November 2013 Visa Bulletin when it is released in due course.

July 2013 Visa Bulletin Commentary

visa-passport blog picThe July 2013 visa bulletin was released on Friday. Here’s the pertinent information most of my readers are looking for:

For all countries except India, China, Philippines, and Mexico: F2A preference has advanced 123 days to priority date (PD) 8 Oct 2011.  F2B preference advanced 117 days with PD at 1 Nov. 2005;  finally slight movement in F4 category of 21 days leaving PD at 22 May  2001;  EB2 is current and, and EB3 advances 123 days to 1  January 2009.

For India only: F2A preference has advanced 123 days to priority date (PD) 8 Oct 2011.  F2B preference advanced 117 days with PD at 1 Nov. 2005;  finally slight movement in F4 category of 21 days leaving PD at 22 May  2001;  Still no movement in EB2 leaving PD at 1 September 2004. EB3 advances 15 days to 22 January 2003.

The Visa Bulletin provides an estimate of what to expect in the coming months.  There appears to be considerable movement, particularly in view of the July advancements as well as all the recent advancements.  If your visa is available, best not to waste time!

We will be sure to update you on the August 2013 visa bulletin when it becomes available.

 

D.  VISA AVAILABILITY IN THE COMING MONTHS (August – October)

FAMILY-sponsored categories (potential monthly movement)

Worldwide dates:

F1: Up to five weeks

F2A: Could become “Current” at some point during the coming months.

F2B: Four to seven weeks

F3: Three to five weeks

F4: Three to five weeks

EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement)

Employment First:  Current

Employment Second:

Worldwide:  Current

China:  Up to two months

India: At this time it appears that the availability of “otherwise unused” Employment Second preference numbers will allow for movement of this cut-off date in August and/or September. It is expected that such movement will generate heavy new applicant demand, primarily by those who are upgrading their status from the Employment Third preference category.  A sustained level of heavy demand could impact the cut-off date at some point during fiscal year 2014.

Employment Third:

Worldwide: No additional movement. This cut-off date has advanced 18 months during the past three months. Such rapid movement can be expected to generate a significant amount of new demand, with the impact not being felt for three to five months. Therefore, the cut-off date will be held until it can be determined what level of demand is to be expected, and whether it is likely to be sustained.

China: No additional movement

India: Up to three weeks

Mexico: No additional movement

Philippines: Up to two weeks

Employment Fourth: Current

Employment Fifth: Current

The above projections for the Family and Employment categories are for what is likely to happen during each of the next few months based on current applicant demand patterns.  Readers should never assume that recent trends in cut-off date movements are guaranteed for the future, or that “corrective” action will not be required at some point in an effort to maintain number use within the applicable annual limits.  The determination of the actual monthly cut-off dates is subject to fluctuations in applicant demand and a number of other variables.  Unless indicated, those categories with a “Current” projection will remain so for the foreseeable future.

Immigration reform – family-based immigration law changes

The outline of comprehensive immigration reform includes some drastic changes to the current family-based immigration system.

  • The new system will have two family-based preference categories (instead of the current 4).
    • The new categories will cover unmarried adult children,
    • Married adult children who file before age 31
    • Unmarried adult children of green card holders.
  • V visa holders will be included in the new system.
  • Eliminating visas for siblings of US citizens.  Elimination will occur 18 months after the date the bill will be enacted.
  • “Immediate Relative” will now include child or spouse of green card holder (good!), child and spouse of person who accompanies/follows the child/parent/spouse of a US citizen or green card holder (great change).
  • Married sons and daughters of US citizens must be under 30 when entering the US (Why?? Not good).

So, in sum, under the 2 categories, US citizens and green card holders can both petition for immediate relatives that will now include adult children. However, to enter the US, the married children have to be younger 30 years old.  This is another example of giving generously with one hand, yet taking away with the other. It is commendable to expand the preference categories to keep families together but the age restriction is onerous.

The backlog or so called ‘line’ will be eliminated only when applying through the merit based visa system (I will discuss another time). It will be interesting to see what the bill states exactly on these issues.

*Copyright 2013 by Watson Immigration Law. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

 

April 2013 Visa Bulletin Commentary

visa-passport blog picThe April 2013 visa bulletin was released today. Here’s the pertinent information most of my readers are looking for:

For all countries except India, China, Philippines, and Mexico: F2A preference has advanced 24 days to priority date (PD) 15 December 2010.  F2B preference advanced 39 days with PD at 8 April 2005; F4 moves forward 10 days to 1 May  2001;  EB2 is current and, and EB3 advances 62 days to 1 July 2007.

For India only:  F2A preference has advanced 24 days to priority date (PD) 15 December 2010.  F2B preference advanced 39 days with PD at 8 April 2005; F4 moves forward 10 days to 1 May 2001; No movement in EB2 leaving PD at 1 September 2004. EB3 advances 17 days to 8 December 2002.

We will update you on any other relevant news if and when available and will report on the May 2013 visa bulletin in due course.

*Copyright 2012 by Watson Immigration Law. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

February 2013 Visa Bulletin Commentary

visa-passport blog picThe February 2013 visa bulletin was released today. Here’s the pertinent information most of my readers are looking for:

For all countries except India, China, Philippines, and Mexico: F2A preference has advanced 30 days to priority date (PD) 22 October 2010.  F2B preference advanced 38 days with PD at 15 January 2005; F4 moves forward 7 days to 15 April 2001;  EB2 is current and, and EB3 advances 41 days to 15 March 2007.

For India only:  F2A preference has advanced 30 days to priority date (PD) 22 October 2010.  F2B preference advanced 23 days with PD at 8 December 2004; F2B preference advanced 38 days with PD at 15 January 2005; F4 moves forward 7 days to 15 April 2001; No movement in EB2 leaving  PD at 1 September 2004. EB3 advances 7 days to 15 November 2002.

We will update you on any other relevant news if and when available and will report on the March 2013 visa bulletin in due course.

*Copyright 2012 by Watson Immigration Law. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

October 2012 Visa Bulletin Commentary

The October 2012 visa bulletin was released today. Here’s the pertinent information most of my readers are looking for:

For all countries except India, China, Philippines, and Mexico: F2A preference has advanced 25 days to priority date (PD) 1 June 2010.  No progress in F2B preference keeping PD at 15 September 2004; F4 moves forward 7 days to 15 March 2001;  EB2 advances 3 years to PD 1 January 2012 (good but not good enough) and, and EB3 advances 21 days to 22 October 2006.

For India only: F2A preference has advanced 25 days to priority date (PD) 1 June 2010.  No progress in F2B preference keeping PD at 15 September 2004;  F4 moves forward 7 days to 15 March 2001; EB2 retrogresses 2 years, 11 months and 15 days  from the last time it was available, which was May 2012.  PD is now 1 September 2004. EB3 advances 7 days to 15 October September 2002.

I had high hopes that ‘EB2 all countries’ would become current this month, so I am disappointed and I feel for all of you out there with the same hopes.  From the recent visa office update, I can only hope that next month, it will be current. Some might say we should be happy with a significant jump of 3 years. However, as I have mentioned previously, this category has always been current (at least during the last 6 years that I have been practicing immigration law).

It is even more disappointing that EB2 for India has retrogressed more than 2 years, after being unavailable for several months.

If the Visa Office Update is anything to go by, now I’ll be watching the EB1 category very closely as it was mentioned that EB1 usage is at an all time high.  Why do they mention this specifically?

Anyway, we will update you on any other relevant news if and when available and will report on the November 2012 visa bulletin in due course.

*Copyright 2012 by Watson Immigration Law. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Visa Bulletin prediction/commentary

Copied from AILA

Visa Office Update on Priority Dates and Demand (Updated 9/05/12)

Cite as “AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 12012349 (posted Sep. 5, 2012)”

On Thursday, August 30, 2012, Roberta Freedman, AILA Students & Scholars Committee member, and Mike Nowlan, Chair of the AILA Business Committee, discussed the Visa Bulletin, visa demand in the employment preference categories, and predictions for FY2012 and FY2013 with Charlie Oppenheim of the Department of State’s Visa Office. These are only discussions of what could happen and are not assurances or guarantees by the Visa Office, as changes in visa usage result in changes in the Visa Bulletin.

Notes from that discussion are:

  • Employment Based (EB)-1 visa usage is extremely high. August 2012 was at a near record high. The Visa Office does not know why. Is USCIS clearing out backlogs because of the new Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or is this pent up demand from 2011, or more “upgrades”? The answer is unknown. The EB-1 visa category could close in September if usage remains this high (close the 40,000). It would then go current in October. In July 2012, EB-1 usage was almost 3,000, of which roughly 1,200 had 2011 or earlier priority dates, and the rest had 2012 priority dates. The 13,000 unused EB-1 numbers that were expected in FY2012, and which would then “drop down” to EB-2, did not happen.
  • EB-2 India priority date will probably go to 2006 when the Visa Bulletin is published next month (not 2007 as previously predicted). This is due in part to the retrogression in 2012, as well as the high level of EB-1 usage. India is expected to stay in 2006 for some time. It could fall back to 2005, but that does not appear likely right now. Slow movement in this category in FY2013 is expected.
  • EB-2 China priority date will be further ahead than India, but that assessment has not been completed yet.
  • EB-2 worldwide may go current in October, or it may go to early 2012 and then current in the November Visa Bulletin – a 2 step process. Why the delay? Employment-based numbers move in a fairly predictable usage pattern (unlike family-based cases). As a result, the Visa Office prefers to have a steady usage of EB cases per month. There are expected to be many EB-2 worldwide cases pending or filed in October, and slowing the usage could help predict usage for the rest of the year. A “correction” in EB-2 worldwide towards the latter part of FY2013 could happen (in other words, potentially visa retrogression for EB-2 worldwide and no longer current).
  • EB-3 worldwide should remain as posted for the rest of September. No prediction could be given as to where it will go in the October Visa Bulletin. Steady progress is expected in FY2013, unless heavy EB-1 and EB-2 usage in FY2013, which would slow the speed of EB-3 worldwide.

Other comments:

As reported previously, another problem with trying to predict the demand is that USCIS is not providing real time data on EB-3 to EB-2 “upgrades”, and the Visa Office is also seeing a significant number of EB-2 to EB-1 “upgrades.” “Upgrades” continue to be a big “wildcard,” as no one knows how many are being used per month. Mr. Oppenheim confirmed his previous comments that USCIS cannot tell him how many upgrades are filed. He would appreciate a process where USCIS notifies his office when the I-140 for the EB-2 “upgrade” is filed, so he can understand what is in the pipeline. Since the retrogression earlier this year, the Visa Office has better data on the cases pending than they did previously because cases filed with a pending adjustment of status application are pre-adjudicated, which gives his office more detail on the person’s priority date history. Retrogression is still a problem, but understanding the data is a small benefit to it.

Upgrades were initially limited to India and China. Worldwide upgrades are now occurring, with 2,900 upgrades for EB-2 worldwide in February 2012. Over 500 of those had a priority date of 2009 or earlier. The Visa Office knows it has 3,500 EB-2 worldwide cases pre-adjudicated and ready to be approved on October 1st and expects more new filings in October.

Family Based (FB) 2A cases: Usage is dropping. Outreach programs seem to increase usage. Immigrant visa waiver delays, primarily in Mexico, also slow usage. FB-2A usage is slower than it should be so the priority dates are expected to move forward at the same pace as FY2012. However, if demand continues to be low, this group may move forward more significantly in the spring of 2013.


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