In the last week, the Department of State released the June, 2016 visa bulletin, USCIS has announced which tables they will utilize for this month and Charlie Oppenheim, the Department of State employee in charge of immigrant visa numbers, issued guidance for the coming months. Below is a summary of the relevant points for all three of these documents.
Family Based Cases
There was some slight forward movement in some categories, but not much. The largest movement was a backlog in the F4 category (Brothers and Sisters of US Citizens) for India and Chine. India dropped from 2003 to 2001, and there is little hope of forward movement until the next fiscal year. There has been high demand across the board in this category, and this is what is causing the retrogression. China went back to January of 2013, about a seven month retrogression. Again, high demand has caused the retrogression, but, in the case of China, there may still be some forward movement this fiscal year – depending on usage.
EB-1: While EB-1 remains current across the board, it should be noted that there us unusually high usage of EB-1 numbers this fiscal year. According to a recent update by Charlie Oppenheim this may result in corrective action later this fiscal year.
EB-2: China will retrogress to January 1, 2010 (as will China EB-3). Since EB-2 and EB-3 for China will be at the same date for the rest of the fiscal year (most likely) this should stop the upswell of downgrades from EB-2 to EB-3.
India is also retrogressing, but much more severely. India will be at October 1, 2004. There is a large amount of usage for EB-2’s in general, meaning that there most likely will not be any “unused” numbers for other countries that could be given to India. This, in conjunction with the number of EB-3 cases that have moved up to EB-2s, has led to this need for retrogression. However, Charlie Oppenheim, in his latest update, said this date could move forward if more EB-3 India cases are adjudicated, alleviating the burden of older EB-3 priority dates moving up to EB-2.
It does not appear that the EB-2 worldwide category will be retrogressed at this time.
EB-3: As stated above, China has retrogressed to 2010. India, on the other hand, moved forward slightly to September 22, 2004.
Worldwide held steady at February 15, 2016. Charlie did not indicate anything about what the future holds for EB-3 Worldwide numbers. If we get an update on this we will certainly let you know.
USCIS has, once again, decided that the final action table should be used for both Family based and Employment based green cards. This is frustrating to not only attorneys and their clients, but also to the Department of State. The only way they can get a good handle on what the actual backlogs are for both EB-2 India and China and EB-3s for everyone, is if those in the backlog are able to file their adjustment of status applications. If USCIS would utilize the Dates for Filing Table, it would give DOS the visibility they need to accurately predict usage and would prevent these wildly swinging priority date movements. Alas, USCIS does not look like they will employe these dates any time soon. This is unfortunate and shows that USCI was not serious about reforming the current visa processing, as if they were, they would at least explain why they are failing to utilize the Dates for Filing and helping the DOS get more visibility into these issues. We will certainly update you if there is any change in this area.
If you have any questions leave a comment below or send me an email. Please remember, as always, this blog does not offer legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult with a lawyer instead of a blog. Thank you.