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.)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Visa Bulletin Predictions: March 2017 and Onward

Every month after the release of the monthly visa bulletin, DOS Visa Office Chief Mr. Charlie Oppenheim would provide his insights on the trends, movements, predictions, etc., regarding the usage of immigrant visa numbers.  The following are the highlights of his insights following the publication of the March 2017 Visa Bulletin:  

1) EB-1 Categories:  EB-1 Worldwide is expected to remain current for the rest of FY2017.  For EB-1 China and India, a Final Action cutoff date is expected to imposed in August for EB-1 China and India.

2) EB-2 / EB-3 China:  Charlie is not able to advance EB-2 significantly due to visa demands.  as of March 2017, EB-3 is 15 months ahead of EB-2.  Charlie expects this gap will continue to widen unless and until demand for EB-3 increases due to downgrades from EB-2 or otherwise.  Charlie comments that demand from downgrades did not materialize until April of May in prior years.  Charlie also has kept a small reserve of visa numbers to alleviate the impact from downgrades.

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3) EB-2 India:  This category's cutoff date remains at April 15, 2008, but Charlie is confident that it will advance to June 1, 2008 later on due to lower demand from EB-3 upgrades for the past 1.5 months.  Charlie expects this category to advance "at a pace of up to one month".  However, Charlie cautions that should demand from EB-3 upgrades increases, then, movement in EB-2 India may slow down or even stop in the future.

4) EB-3 India:  Charlie expects very limited movement in the coming months for this category.

5) EB-3 Worldwide: Charlie expects EB-3 Worldwide will continue to advance for another three months later this year due to lower demand for visa numbers.

6) EB-3 Philippines: As predicted before, EB-3 Philippines advances five months to March 15, 2012 in March. Charlie expects additional future advancement of up to six months.   This category's advancement is attributable to lower demand for EB-1 and EB-2 Philippines, resulting in spit-over numbers for the EB-3 category.

7) EB-5 China: The EB-5 China categories advances 15 days to May 1, 2014 in March. This category will likely continue to advance at a rate of 1 to 2 weeks with no movement possible in intermittent months.

8) EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico:  "Number usage in the EB-4 categories for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico is fast approaching the annual per-country limits. There is sufficient potential demand (i.e., pending I-485s) from applicants from these countries with priority dates earlier than the Final Action Date to deplete the pool of numbers for FY 2017. Whether the movement referenced in the March Visa Bulletin occurs will depend on when and if this demand materializes."

9) Family-Based Preference Categories: " Aggressive forward movement in some of the family-based preference categories may be observed in April, such as FB-1 where demand has been significantly lower than the level required to deplete the available numbers targeted each month. The significant movement in the March FB-1 Final Action Date is an attempt to generate more demand. Charlie underscored that his predictions for the family-based categories could be somewhat conservative. Thus, these categories can be expected to advance at the rate noted in the March Bulletin, if not faster."

(Source: AILA Doc. No. 14071401)

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