The December Visa Bulletin: Bad News for India

The Department of State recently released its December Visa Bulletin which updated the priority date listings for immigrant visa categories and also provided some guidance as to future movement of these dates. In addition, Mr. Oppenheim, who is in charge of immigrant visa numbers and the visa bulletin for the Department of State, also met with AILA and immigration lawyers last month and gave us some additional guidance as well. To summarize: Most of the world looks ok at least for the short terms in terms of visa availability. India, on the other hand, does not.

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The biggest movement in the December bulletin was the backlogging of the EB-2 category for India. This has moved to November 14, 2004, a backlog of 9 years. According to Mr. Oppenheim, the reason for this backlog is that they are now almost out of immigrant visas for India for this fiscal year. So this means he feels that there are few, if any cases, with this priority date that have not received immigrant visas already.
That seems bad, but not too bad, you may think. Well, unfortunately, this is not the whole story. We had previously reported that the backlog for India is around 30,000 or so cases, which is about a 10 year backlog overall. Unfortunately, as it turns out, this is ONLY the backlog of EB-2 cases for India in which an adjustment of status (I-485) case was ALREADY filed. In other words, this does not include EB-2 cases that have been approved for which NO I-485 has been filed. What does this mean? This means that the potential backlog could be double what it currently is, or more. Realistically, unless there is a change in the law, the EB-2 backlog for India could reach 20, 30 or more years.

As for the rest of the World, the Eb-2 category is at November 8, 2008 for China, and is current for the rest of the world. According to the DOS, projected movement of these numbers over the next couple of months is as follows: China will move about 3-5 weeks every month, Worldwide numbers will stay Current, India will NOT move forward at all.

Lastly, EB-3 numbers are at October 1, 2011 for most of the world, except they are at September 1, 2003 for India and January 8, 2007 for the Philippines. India will have no more movement forward in the next several months. The worldwide numbers and Mexico and China should see some more forward movement through February, but will then hold steady after that. The Philippines will see movements of aout 3-6 weeks per month. Of course all of this depends on how many visas are actually used during any given period, and it may change rapidly. We will try to update you as we receive more information.

Other news is that the family based F2A number (for spouses and children of permanent residents) is holding at September September 8, 2013 for most countries (and September 1, 2013 for Mexico). Unfortunately, the DOS does not see any forward movement of this date over the next couple of months. Once again, we will update you as new information becomes available. I am happy to answer any questions about these numbers as well.

Image courtesy of digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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