The American Immigration Lawyer’s Association recently met with Charlie Oppenheim of the Department of State about the upcoming year and what the trends look like in terms of immigrant visa availability. Here is what Charlie said in regards to employment-based visas:
First, in terms of EB-1 Employment-based visas, India has ALREADY surpassed its country allocation for EB-1 visas and is currently using visas otherwise allocated to other countries. China, while not quite as bad, is also coming close to using all its allocation. This means that both India and China will be backlogged in the EB-1 category, and probably relatively soon. EB-1 demand for all other countries is not as great, and there should be no backlogs for All other countries in this category
EB-2 and EB-3:
The final action date for EB-3 China is approximately ten months ahead of the EB-2 China final action date. This has actually been the case for the last few years and tends to spur greater demand for EB-3 China based on requests to “downgrade” from EB-2 China by filing a new I-140 petition based on an existing certified EB-2 labor certification. Forward movement of the China EB-3 date has been limited because of the expected significant influx of “downgrade” demand, which resulted in retrogression in earlier years. If such demand fails to materialize in the coming months the date will begin to advance at a faster pace.
EB-2 India continues to receive significant demand, which Charlie attributes to EB-3 upgrades.Charlie hopes that this final action date will get into 2009 at some point this fiscal year, but does not yet have a sense as to how quickly that might occur. There continues to be significant demand for EB-2 Worldwide, and if that continues, it will leave little, if any, otherwise unused numbers to reallocate to EB-2 India. In past years, EB-2 India has often benefitted from the addition of thousands of otherwise unused numbers not required for use by other countries. In terms of EB-3 India numbers, Charlie expects India to hold in January, advance up to one week in February, and hold again for a month or two before advancing modestly again.
Demand has also not abated for EB-2 Worldwide/Mexico/Philippines, causing Charlie to speculate that a date will be imposed no later than July. Charlie has been waiting for some time for demand to be generated in EB-3 Worldwide, which Charlie has been waiting for some time for demand to be generated in EB-3 Worldwide, which has generally been current for more than a year. Charlie is watching demand very closely, and though he has started to see an increase, it is unclear whether this demand will be sustained.
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.