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.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Visa Bulletin Predictions by Charlie Oppenheim for March 2016 and Thereafter

Once again, State Department's Charlie Oppenheim provided his predictions and analysis through AILA after the the publication of the March 2016 Visa Bulletin.  The following are the highlights:

1) EB-2 and EB-3 China:  Despite rapid advances of EB-2 and EB-3 China's final action dates in March (for five months and eight months respectively), Charlie believes that there is more room for advancement.  He believes that both categories will likely advance five months in the coming months. However, he also warns that usage reports by USCIS of visa numbers could drastically change the pattern of any future movements.  

Charlie is also monitoring the relative movements of these two categories.  He noted that while the EB-3 China final action date was seven months ahead of EB-2 China in the February Visa Bulletin, the final action date for EB-3 China will be ten months ahead of the EB-2 China final action date in March. Based on past experiences, EB-2 applicants could respond by filing additional I-140s to downgrade to EB-3, hence shifting the demand from EB-2 to EB-3. Although Charlie expects a similar pattern this year, so far significant EB-3 China demand has not yet materialized.

Regarding the filing dates, EB-2 and EB-3 China will advance five months and 19 months respectively in March.  Charlie stated that EB-3 China's visa usage is split evenly between overseas consular filings and adjustment of status filings within the United States.  USCIS has decided not to adopt the State Department's filing dates in March.  Charlie believes that if USCIS decides to adopt the filing dates of the Visa Bulletin down the road, it could result in additional demand to balance out the final action dates in both of these categories.

2) EB-2 India:  Demand in EB-2 India has been on the rise, partly due to upgrades from EB-3 cases. Such a change is starting to slow the advancement of the final action date for EB-2 India.  Charlie predicts that EB-2 India will advance at a rate of "up to three months," until June.

Charlie expects additional movement may materialize in this category in June, when EB-1 and EB-2 Worldwide demand is assessed for any spill-over visa numbers. 

3) EB-3 India: Charlies has no specific comments on this visa category.

4) EB-5 China: Charlie predicts that EB-5 China will continue to advance slowly and at a rate which would avoid the need for a retrogression.

5) Other categories: Refer to previous predictions by Charlie.

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