In the coming months we will see more limitations on the number of green card or immigrant visa numbers available for individuals from India and China. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) expects the EB-2 category for India and China (mainland born) to be so backlogged that by May or June 2012 the cut-off dates on the Visa Bulletin will roll back to August 2007. This projection is directly from Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at DOS, who spoke on upcoming green card visa number availability at the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Midwest Regional Conference in Chicago on March 16, 2012. Mr. Oppenheim is responsible for deciding the monthly cut-off dates on the Visa Bulletin, the monthly announcement of immigrant visa availability by DOS.
While we anticipated retrogression in the EB-2 cut-off dates for India and China in previous alerts, we wish to notify you that it is critical for any qualified individual with a current priority date to submit an adjustment of status (I-485) application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as soon as possible. Mr. Oppenheim stated that he will likely retrogress EB-2 numbers for India and China as early as May 2012 to approximately August 2007. This represents an almost three-year retrogression in EB-2 cut-off dates for India and China. Additionally, Mr. Oppenheim confirmed that all Employment-Based First Preference (EB-1) visas available in the current Fiscal Year 2012 will be used this year, resulting in no distribution or “spill-down” of additional or unused visa numbers into the EB-2 category. In previous years unused EB-1 numbers had been reallocated into the EB-2 category, increasing the overall number of green cards available to people from India and China in those years.
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