Members of the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association met with Charles Oppenheim to discuss the upcoming December Visa Bulletin and, especially, the large backlogs for India. Mr. Oppenheim provided the following updated information regarding immigrant visa usage for this fiscal year (October 1, 2013 – September 30, 2014). Please note that the following are based on Mr. Oppenheim’s impressions at this time and could change should usage patterns change in the future:
1. As of November 20, 2013 the Department of State (DOS) retrogressed the EB-2 immigrant visa numbers for India to November 1, 2004 – which is the priority date that they were going to implement for this category starting December 1, 2013. The reason for this sudden turn is that the DOS has been receiving approximately 150 requests for immigrant visa numbers for India EB-2 cases from USCIS every day since November 10th (the vast majority of these were for EB-3 cases upgrading to EB-2 cases). While this may not sound like much, it is an unprecedented demand. They are uncertain how many more visas they will have to allocate to India so had to retrogress the numbers earlier than December 1.
2. It is possible that in August or September of 2014 that the India cut-off for EB-2 numbers may be moved back to 2008, but this will depend on how many immigrant visas are left in this category, how many EB-1 immigrant visas are left and can be transferred to this category and how many immigrant visas are used by the pre-November 2004 cases during the coming months. As a guideline, Mr. Oppenheim reported that almost 15,000 immigrant visas were allocated to backlogged Indian cases in the EB-2 category in August and September of last fiscal year (so August and September 2013).
3. Lastly, the Worldwide EB-3 numbers jumped another year in the December Visa bulletin (to October 1, 2011) because there are very few immigrant visa requests from USCIS for this category. DOS is trying to stimulate demand in this category to use all the allocated visas before the end of the fiscal year. Depending on what happens with demand, the DOS has indicated that it may have to retrogress this category later in the year.
I will post updates as they become available.