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.)

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Visa Bulletin Predictions by Charles Oppenheim - January 2016

The following are the most updated predictions regarding the Visa Bulletin by Charles Oppenheim, Visa Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State, through AILA's DOS Liaison Committee:

EB-2 India Advanced More than Expected:  Charlie predicted in last November that there would be about eight  months of advancement in EB-2 India in the coming months.  This category actually has advanced more significantly.  For example, in February's Visa Bullein, it moves forward by six months.   There are two reasons for this rapid advancement. First, there has been less demand than previously anticipated because of fewer EB-3 to EB-2 upgrades and USCIS efforts to clear EB-2 India backlog cases.  Secondly, it is also part of DOS strategy to advance cut off dates aggressively early on during the year to ensure that visa numbers are used up during the fiscal year.  According to Charlie,  "USCIS have led him to believe that the rate of demand in the coming months will reduce the rate of cut-off date movement."

EB-2 Other Countries Demand is Lower probably as a result of fewer EB-3 upgrades.

EB-2 and EB-3 China Will Continue to Advance:  Demand in EB-2 China has been decreasing. Demand decreased in November by about half, when compared to October.  Demand for EB-3 China is also low.  In an attempt to meet usage target, Charlie will continue to advance EB-3 China.  As a result, more downgrades from EB-2 to EB-3 are expected, which could "rebalance" the cut off dates of these categories. Charlie expects such rebalancing to happen over the next few months.

"Dates for Filing" Chart in the April Bulletin will be Revised by Charlie, primarily in the family-based categories.  Charlie also predicts that EB-3 Other Countries filing date will advance if demand in that category remains low.

Q & A:

QUESTION: Do the numbers reported on the Waiting List for EB-3 Philippines reflect actual visa demand for this category? It has been suggested by some that as many as 80% of the 28,102 individuals listed in the report will not pursue their visa applications as a result of the visa backlog and lack of priority date movement over the years. If in fact actual demand to date has been less than expected, are you considering adjusting the priority date cut-off for this category?

ANSWER: Number use for EB-3 Philippines is at a fairly reasonable level for this point in the year. We have 5,000+ applicants which have already been reported to VO, and are only awaiting forward movement of the cut-off date. The cut-off date will continue to advance, but how quickly remains to be seen.

The "lag time" does not seem to have resulted in a lack of demand. The reason for the rapid movement of this date in FY 2015 was that we had worked through the eligible demand which was reported for overseas processing, and USCIS demand (approximately 950) was extremely low during the first four months of FY 2015. During the next three months, demand from USCIS exploded (approximately 3,000), perhaps due to a decreasing processing backlog."

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