October 2011 Visa Bulletin: Forward Movement for EB2 India / China

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has issued the October 2011 Visa Bulletin, the first in the federal government’s 2012 fiscal year (FY12). The most remarkable development, effective in October, is the substantial forward movement in the employment- based, second preference (EB2) category for India and China. Consistent with our earlier predictions, and elaborated on below, this category is advancing by three months. The cutoff dates in the EB categories for October 2011 are summarized here for the benefit of MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers.

Summary of Visa Bulletin

Employment-Based, First Preference (EB1)

This category is current for all countries of chargeability.

Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2)

This category is current for all countries of chargeability, with the exception of India and China. The cutoff date for EB2 India and China for October 2011 is July 15, 2007. This is an advancement of three months from the previous cutoff date.

Employment-Based Third Preference (EB3)

This category experiences slight forward movement for all countries. The cutoff date for the category of all chargeability areas except those listed, as well as Mexico and the Philippines, moves by just over two weeks to December 8, 2005. The cutoff date for India moves only by a few days, to a new cutoff date of July 15, 2002. China’s cutoff date advances to August 8, 2004.

Other Workers’ Category

The EB3 category for other workers has a new cutoff date of September 15, 2005, for all chargeability areas except those listed, as well as the Philippines and Mexico. China’s cutoff date remains unchanged at April 22, 2003. India’s cutoff date advances by a few days to June 8, 2002.

Employment-Based, Fourth (EB4) and Fifth (EB5) Preferences

These categories remain current for all countries of chargeability.

Analysis and Predictions:

Employment-Based, Second Preference India and China

In our NewsBrief covering the September 2011 Visa Bulletin (19.Aug.2011), we postulated upcoming visa bulletin cutoff date movement due to the lack of pending adjustment-of-status (I-485) applications in EB2 India and China with priority dates post August 2007. We anticipated that the cutoff dates would have to advance temporarily in order to fill the “pipeline” with I-485 cases eligible for approval.

This prediction by the Murthy Law Firm was confirmed in the October 2011 Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletin section addressing future cutoff date movement states that the rapid movement in EB2 China and India is intended to create demand for visa numbers through new I-485 filings. As explained in the Visa Bulletin, this need to generate more EB2 India and China filings is prompted by the EB2 cutoff date, which is now approaching the “best” date ever previously reached for EB2 India and China. This concept is more easily understood by viewing the I-485 pending inventory charts. As noted in the October 2011 Visa Bulletin, however, once the demand is increased with sufficient I-485 filings, it may be necessary to slow, stop, or retrogress the cutoff dates.

Essentially, mid-August 2007 was as good as things ever got for EB2 India and China. The cutoff dates again are approaching this point, and many I-485s for EB2 India and China have been approved in the past few months. Thus, the anticipated demand is low enough that the universe of pending I-485 cases eligible for approval can be expanded, allowing for additional case filings. Since there is a lag between the filing of an I-485 and adjudication of the case (at which time the visa number is utilized), the DOS is temporarily advancing the cutoff dates to allow a fairly large number of I-485 cases to be filed. This is the reason the dates for India and China advanced by three months at the start of FY12. Any further movement of the priority dates (PDs) will depend upon whether the new filings are approved quickly. When the demand meets or exceeds the visa number supply, the cutoff date movement will slow, stop, or potentially even move backward.

Visa Bulletin Predictions: All Other Categories

The October 2011 Visa Bulletin contains predictions of visa number availability and cutoff dates for all the EB categories for the upcoming few months. As expected, the predications are that EB1, EB2 (other than India and China), EB4, and EB5 will remain current.

For backlogged EB3s, up to a month of cutoff date movement is predicted over the next few months for the category of all chargeability areas except those listed, Mexico, and the Philippines. The prediction for China is up to three weeks; India is up to two weeks. While dismal, this is to be expected, given the high levels of demand worldwide for the very limited supply of immigrant visas available in the EB3 category.

We at the Murthy Law Firm will continue update our readers with useful information and on visa bulletin matters that can impact the movement of cutoff dates as we enter FY12.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.