The priority date cut-off for EB-2 India could advance by nearly five years, to an early summer 2009 date, by the September Visa Bulletin. EB-2 China is projected to move forward by five weeks per month for the remainder of the fiscal year, but EB-3 China will remain static and could retrogress further if demand does not subside. EB-5 China may become unavailable in August or September, but is expected to become current when FY 2015 begins on October 1.
The nearly five-year surge in India EB-2 availability is due to the application of unused immigrant visas in the EB-1 and EB-2 worldwide categories, according to Charles Oppenheim, the senior State Department official responsible for visa control. EB-3 India is projected to advance slowly, by one week per month, through the end of the current fiscal year. EB-3 China is expected to move forward slowly during FY 2015. Rapid advancement is anticipated for EB-3 Philippines in the last months of the fiscal year, but EB-3 for all other countries is expected to hold at current cut-off dates.
What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals
Now would be a good time for employers and their immigration counsel to carefully review the priority dates for Indian employees with approved I-140 petitions but who have been unable to pursue adjustment of status applications due to retrogression. As we have seen in the past, there may only be a small window of time when before the EB-2 cut-off dates again move backwards. In addition, many long-pending adjustment applications may be approved during this surge.
The exact cut-off date will not be known until the State Department releases a Visa Bulletin announcing the advancement. The Bulletin is usually issued about three weeks before the month to which it applies.
When their priority dates become current, adjustment applicants with pending cases may need to provide supplemental documentation so that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can finalize their cases. Applicants could be asked to provide updated job letters from their employer-sponsors and may need to attend another biometrics appointment so that new fingerprints can be taken. Updated medical certificates may also be required.