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.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Visa Bulletin Predictions by Charlie Oppenheim for April 2016 and Thereafter


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

1) Final Action Date Movements Consistent with Prior Predictions. "The Final Action Dates in the April 2016 Visa Bulletin are consistent with Charlie's predictions last month. In February, Charlie predicted that we would continue to see forward movement of up to five months in EB-2 and EB-3 China, and in April, EB-2 China will advance one month and EB-3 China will advance one and a half months. This modest advancement is attributable to an increase in I-485 cases in these categories coming to completion."

2) EB-2 and EB-3 India Predictions:  "April movement in the Indian employment-based categories is also consistent with Charlie's predictions last month. The EB-2 India Final Action Date will advance less than one month in April, moving to November 8, 2008. Forward movement in this category could be slower than originally expected due to increasing demand in this category which can be attributed to upgrades from EB-3 India. Additionally, EB-1 Worldwide usage continues at a steady pace, making it unclear how many numbers might be available to fall down for potential use in EB-2 India. This should become clearer in the coming months as additional demand data becomes available. The EB-3 India Final Action Date will also advance only three weeks to August 8, 2004."

3) EB-3 China Slowing Down Due to Downgrades:  Charlie is concerned that EB-3 downgrade cases from EB-2 China may soon create a sudden jump in visa demand. Hence, he is limiting this category's forward movement as a precaution. 

4) Accurate Predictions of Visa Usage Difficult Because of Unpredictable USCIS Visa Use:  Charlie explained that he would not know about when an immigrant visa is needed until USCIS completes adjudication of an I-485 and requests a visa number. Because the processing times of various USCIS offices are different, it makes it difficult to predict future demand and to establish Final Action cut-off dates that are less volatile.  Charles states that "Additional transparency and data analytics into pending I-485s would be helpful, and it is hoped that USCIS's use of the Dates for Filing will eventually provide such insight."

5) Charlie Wants to Advance Final Dates Slowly to Avoid Retrogression:  Charlie explained that, as unpredictable as the visa usage maybe, his job is to make assumptions and predictions about future visa usage and advance the Final Action dates accordingly.  However, to avoid the need to retrogress cut-off dates, his adopts a conservative approach - to advance carefully.  On the other hand, he must also try to use up all available visa numbers during the fiscal year, an objective which often requires him to advance cut-ff dates aggressively.   Charlie uses EB-3 Worldwide as an example. This visa category has advanced 16 months during the past year in an attempt to use up all visa numbers.

6) Announcing the NVC EB-5 Investor Assistance Desk.  The new National Visa Center (NVC) EB-5 Investor Assistance Desk has been established.  A dedicated email address (NVCeb5@state.gov) was also created to address EB-5 inquiries. 

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