Assessing Current Employment-Based Visa Availability

Charlie Oppenheim of the Department of State recently provided his regular update on the visa bulletin, which indicates the availability of both employment-based and family-based visas. Charlie provides estimates on visa availability based on demand.  With regards to employment-based visas his updates are as follows:

EB-1 China and EB-1 India. These categories will remain current for the coming months, meaning that visas will remain available, but it is possible that they could become limited in the summer.

EB-2 Worldwide. Visas in this category will also remain available for the foreseeable future. Charlie notes a decrease in EB-2 Worldwide demand, which could be exacerbated by the transition of employment-based I-485 processing to the local USCIS field offices.

EB-2 China and EB-3 China. In January, EB-2 China and EB-3 China advance by more than one month to August 8, 2013, and April 15, 2014, respectively.

EB-2 India. Consistent with Charlie’s predictions, in January, EB-2 India will again advance by less than one month from November 1, 2008, to November 22, 2008. It is not likely that the final action date for this category will move into 2009 before summer.

EB-3 India. The final action date for EB-3 India will advance two weeks from October 15, 2006, to November 1, 2006, in January. As we move into the second quarter of Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, demand in this category is levelling out following heavy visa number usage in October. This allows for modest forward advancement which Charlie hopes will continue at the pace of up to a few weeks each month.

With regard to EB-2 and EB-3 India availability, Charlie does not think that EB-3 could advance beyond EB-2, as we have seen for China. However, it remains unclear what impact the USCIS announcement shifting adjudications of employment-based petitions to the local field offices will have on the demand for visa numbers and corresponding visa availability. It could potentially slow EB-3 worldwide demand, allowing EB-3 India to move a bit faster. At this time, EB-3 India upgrade demand has slowed, so there has been some advancement for EB-2 India.

Additional projections are unlikely to be reported in the Visa Bulletin until February at the earliest due to uncertainty in how the transition of employment-based I-485 processing to USCIS field offices will impact visa number demand. Once Charlie gains more clarity regarding the rate of USCIS field office processing of employment based I-485s, reporting of projections in the Visa Bulletin should resume.

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