Each Month, American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Department of State (DOS) Liaison Committee checks in with Charlie Oppenheim, the Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at DOS for updates about Visa Bulletin progress. During these meetings, Charlie analyzes trends and offers predictions on visa processing. Here are some highlights from his analysis which is shared with AILA. Though there are reduced processing from the Department of State and USCIS due to COVID-19, they are working closely to process applications that can be finalized this fiscal year.
Below are some of Charlie’s projections for the employment-based preference categories for the coming months. In most categories there continues to be forward movement, with exceptional rapid movement in EB-1 and EB-3 this fiscal year.
- EB-1 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico Philippines and Vietnam) remains current in August and will continue to be so through the end of this fiscal year (September 30, 2020).
- EB-1 China and EB-1 India now have the same final action date. This is because they have both reached their per country limits and are now utilizing “otherwise unused numbers” from the EB-1 category as well as numbers that have “fallen up” from otherwise unused EB-5 numbers.
- Otherwise unused numbers are available within the EB-1 category because the rest of world demand is currently insufficient to fully utilize numbers under the Worldwide limit this fiscal year.
- While there is still potential for forward movement in EB-1 China and EB-1 India in September, any advance movements are unlikely to be as dramatic as in August.
- EB-2 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico Philippines and Vietnam) remains current in August and will remain so through this fiscal year.
- Charlie estimates that there is a sufficient amount of worldwide demand to reach or approximate the EB-2 annual limit for FY2020.
- EB-3 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico Philippines and Vietnam) and EB-3 Worldwide Other Workers (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico Philippines and Vietnam) continue to advance rapidly at the pace of almost one year in August from April 15, 2018 to April 1, 2019. This advancement includes over three thousand EB-3 Philippines applications which are eligible to be finalized.
- The spread between EB-2 China and EB-3 China, which held at approximately 7.5 months for some time, widens greatly in August, putting EB-3 China’s final action date 13 months ahead of EB-2 China. We will have to monitor this to see whether this spurs downgrades to EB-3 China.
- EB-5 India (Regional and Non-Regional Centers) which became current in July, continues to will remain current in August and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future.
- EB-5 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico and Philippines), Regional and Non-Regional Centers, will also remain current into the next fiscal year.