A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

An Analysis of the August 2010 Visa Bulletin

There have been some nice advancements in immigrant visa numbers for the two months, especially in August. For example, on the employment side, the second preference for China (EB-2) advanced three months to 3/1/06 in August; the EB -2 for India moved forwarded five months also to 3/1/2006. The Philippines and other countries remain current. This category of applicants includes those with advanced degree, “exceptional ability”, and also those requesting for a “national interest waiver” (NIW). For EB-3 professional workers with a bachelor’s degree or skilled workers, China and India both advanced one month to 9/22/2003 and 1/1/2002 respectfully while the Philippines jumped almost ten months to 6/1/2004. For other worldwide countries, the EB-3 category moved more than nine months to 6/1/2004. For the unskilled workers, India moved forward seven months to 1/1/2002 while most other countries advanced almost one year to 5/15/2002. The EB-3 and unskilled category, however, remain unavailable for Mexico. Other employment categories, including EB-1 applicants (extraordinary ability applicants, outstanding researchers and professors, and international company executives and managers), and EB-4 religious workers and special immigrants and EB-5 investors remain current in August.

Similar advancements are also present on the family side. For example, the F-1 category (unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens) advanced four months from to 8/1/2005 for China, India and other countries and five months for the Philippines to 1/1/1996. The F-2A spouses and children (under 21) of green card holders advanced eight months to 3/1/2009 for China, India, the Philippines and other countries, to 3/1/2008 for Mexico and Dominican Republic. The F-2B category (unmarried sons and daughters over the age of 21 of permanent residents) jumped eight months from 5/1/2003 in July to 1/1/2004 in August for all countries except Mexico and the Philippines. Mexico remains unchanged while the Philippines leaped forward 17 months to 8/1/2001! There are also nice advancements in the F-3 category for married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and F-1 category for brothers and sisters of American citizens.

These advancements have been predicted by many including the U.S. State Department before. Due to the end of the fiscal year, the government is eager to use up any available visa numbers so that nothing is wasted. The State Department may apply the spillover rules to apply visa numbers of one category of applications to the next one. According to the State Department, many applicants gave up their applications as a result of the long wait for visa numbers. They may have migrated to other countries or decided to remain in their home countries for personal or professional reasons.

The important thing to understand is that these cutoff dates the in visa bulletin may change soon. They may revert back to earlier dates in the coming months. Visa retrogression is not uncommon at all in the history of U.S. immigration. As a matter of fact, starting October 1, when the new fiscal year begins, there will likely be setbacks in visa cutoff days. It all depends on the statistics and predictions available to the State Department by that time. Hence, applicants should try their best to take advantage of the current visa bulletins as much as possible. For example, if your priority date is current, you should immediately take actions to file the I-485 adjustment application or an immigration visa petition (for overseas applicants). This way, the applicant would also be able to also apply for employment authorization and travel document. If a person’s I-485 has already been filed and the priority date has become current, he or she should notify the USCIS so that the application can be adjudicated immediately before the cutoff date falls back again.

For those applicants whose priority dates are not current yet, the visa bulletin cannot offer much assistance now. Again, it would depend on the rule of demand and supply down the road. Let’s hope that the situation continues to improve when the new fiscal year begins. In any rate, applicants should monitor their applications closely and keep in touch with their attorneys to come up with the best strategy for their particular situation.

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