UNITED STATES: State Department Projects EB-2 India Retrogression in December
EB-2 India priority dates are anticipated to retrogress to late 2004 or early 2005 in December, following a period of advancement in recent months.
The immigrant visa priority date cut-off for EB-2 India is expected retrogress to late 2005 or early 2005 in December, a senior State Department official has indicated. Charles Oppenheim, the DOS official responsible for visa control, recently shared these and other predictions for the December 2013 Visa Bulletin, although exact cut-off dates will be unknown until the Bulletin is made public. The Visa Bulletin is usually issued about three weeks before the month to which it applies.
Employment-Based Second Preference (EB-2)
EB-2 India is likely to remain at a cut-off date of late 2004 or early 2005 from December 2013 until summer 2014. EB-2 India had advanced to June 15, 2008 in recent months, allowing USCIS to process many pending applications for adjustment of status that had been backlogged due to unavailability of immigrant visa numbers. The advancement also allowed Indian EB-2s who were previously unable to file permanent residence applications a new opportunity to do so. Those who have not yet filed applications for adjustment of status should work with their Fragomen representative to file in November, in advance of the anticipated December retrogression.
EB-2 China and Philippines is projected to advance three to five weeks each month, both in the December 2013 Visa Bulletin and continuing further into the fiscal year. For all other countries, EB-2 priority dates are expected remain current, although a cut-off date is possible towards the end of the fiscal year, in August or September 2014.
Employment-Based Third Preference (EB-3)
EB-3 India is expected see minimal advancement, with priority dates unchanged or with slight retrogression. EB-3 China should move forward two weeks per month through the remainder of the fiscal year.
Over the next several months, worldwide EB-3 numbers are projected to advance by one year, to 2011, to stimulate demand, with a potential slowdown in the middle of the fiscal year.
EB-1 is expected to remain current for all countries. For EB-5 China, a cut-off date is possible around June 2014. EB-5 usage in general is higher for many countries.
The family-based 2A category for the spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents is expected to remain at September 2013 cut-off dates for most countries for the foreseeable future, though there may be some retrogression for Mexico.
Reasons for Retrogression and Visa Demand
The expected retrogressions are said to be due to usage of immigrant visa numbers by spouses and children of sponsored workers. Higher demand for EB-1 numbers also has an impact, as there are consequently fewer unused EB-1 visas made available to the EB-2 classification.
The increased demand for EB-2 India and China arises from individuals with older EB-3 priority dates upgrading to the EB-2 classification. These upgrades are done without advance notice to the DOS, which makes demand difficult to assess. Therefore, in the near term, DOS needs to stem the flow of new EB-2 filings to give DOS and USCIS time to approve pending cases.
In general, DOS plans to advance cut-off dates earlier in the fiscal year in an effort to gauge demand, and then to adjust cut-off dates in later months.