Posts Tagged 'preference category'

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.

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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.

September 2012 Visa Bulletin Commentary

The September 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 55 days to priority date (PD) 8 May 2010 and F2B preference has advanced 86 days to 15 September 2004; F4 moves forward 22 days to 8 March 2001; no movement in EB2 with PD remaining at 1 January 2009 and, and EB3 advances 24 days to 1 October 2006.

For India only: F2A preference has advanced 55 days to priority date (PD) 8 May 2010 and F2B preference has advanced 86 days to 15 September 2004; F4 moves forward 22 days to 8 March 2001; EB2 remains unavailable and and EB3 advances 7 days to 8 October September 2002.

We hope to see ‘EB2 All Countries’ become current in the new fiscal year starting October 2012 (fiscal year 2013).  If you have an approved I-140 or are able to file a concurrent I-140/I-485, I would suggest you have all your forms ready to file at first opportunity. It is hard to say whether the visa availability for All Countries EB2 will remain current for very long.  As I had mentioned in a previous post, I did not anticipate this category retrogressing, so anything is possible and preparation is key to ensuring you ‘do not miss the boat’ so to speak!

We will update you on any other relevant news if and when available and will report on the October 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.

May 2012 Visa Bulletin Commentary


The May 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 39 days to priority date (PD) 15 November 2009 and F2B preference has advanced 39 days to 22 February 2004; F4 moves forward 24 days 1 December 2000; EB2 remains current and EB3 advances 24 days to 1 May 2006.

For India only: F2A advances 39 days to PD 15 November 2009 and F2B advances 39 days to 22 February 2004; F4 advances 24 days 1 December 2000; EB2 retrogresses 2 years 8 months and 17 days (this applies to China too), and EB3 advances 8 days to 8 September 2002.

Sadly, the retrogression predictions became true today. Let’s hope there will be no more retrogression for the rest of the year.  Below is a what the Department of State said in the bulletin about the retrogression:

“D.  RETROGRESSION OF THE CHINA-MAINLAND AND INDIA EMPLOYMENT SECOND PREFERENCE CUT-OFF DATE

Due to the rapid forward movement of the cut-off date, demand for China and India Employment Second preference numbers has increased dramatically during recent months, and at a much faster rate than had been expected.  Therefore, it has been necessary to retrogress that cut-off date to August 15, 2007 in an attempt to hold number use within the annual limit while maintaining availability for those countries that have not yet reached their per-country limit.  Notices were included in the November, January, and February Visa Bulletins alerting readers to the possibility of such a retrogression.  While corrective action has become necessary earlier than was anticipated based on the information available at the time cut-off dates were determined, it is hoped that readers are not caught off guard by this retrogression.
 
Should additional information regarding potential demand become available, it may be necessary to take additional corrective action at any time. 
 
Every effort will be made to return the China and India Employment Second preference cut-off date to the previously announced April date of May 1, 2010.  This will be done as quickly as possible under the FY-2013 annual limits, which take effect October 1, 2012.  It will not be possible to speculate on the cut-off date which may apply at that time until late summer. 

USCIS has indicated that it will continue accepting China and India Employment Second preference I-485 filings based on the originally announced April cut-off date.”

If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a note.  In the meantime, as soon as the June 2012 visa bulletin is released, we will be posting updates.

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


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