April 2012 Visa Bulletin: EB2 India and China Unchanged

The April 2012 U.S. Department of State (DOS) Visa Bulletin is available and reflects an unchanged cutoff date in the employment-based, second preference (EB2) category for India and China. This is far different from the significant forward movement that category enjoyed from the October 2011 Visa Bulletin through March 2012. The EB2 cutoff date for India and China in April 2012 remains at May 1, 2010. A summary of the April Visa Bulletin follows, providing explanations for 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)

The EB2 category remains current for all countries of chargeability, with the exception of India and China. As stated above, the EB2 cutoff date for India and China is unchanged. The EB2 cutoff date for India and China continues at May 1, 2010.

This is consistent with the DOS intention to advance the cutoff dates in the early part of the year to allow for approval of enough adjustment-of-status applicants to permanent resident (commonly, “green card”) by the end of the 2012 fiscal year. With that advancement in place, the DOS did indicate that it likely would hold the dates steady, but might have to retrogress the cutoff dates at some point. These changes depend upon the volume of EB2 case filings and approvals. Information on the expected retrogression date of May or June 2012 can be found on MurthyDotCom in our March 16, 2012 NewsFlash! DOS Issues EB2 Cutoff Projections.

Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3)

As explained in previous NewsBriefs available on MurthyDotCom, the positive developments in the EB2 category do not trickle down to the EB3 category. Backlogs continue in the EB3 category. With the exception of China, there is only slight forward movement throughout the category. The cutoff date for the EB3 category of all chargeability areas except those listed, as well as for Mexico and the Philippines, advances in the April Visa Bulletin by approximately three weeks, to April 8, 2006. India’s cutoff date moves by just over a week to September 1, 2002. China’s cutoff date advances by two months, to March 1, 2005.

Other Workers’ Category

In April 2012, the EB3 other workers’ category advances by a few weeks in the category of all chargeability areas except those listed, as well as for the Philippines and Mexico, with a new cutoff date of April 8, 2006. China’s cutoff date of April 22, 2003 remains unchanged. India’s cutoff date changes to September 1, 2002.

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

The EB4 and EB5 categories remain current for all countries of chargeability.

Explanation and Predictions

As explained in previous articles, the EB2 cutoff dates for India and China could not continue to advance indefinitely. The cutoff dates advanced from April 15, 2007 in September 2011 to the cutoff date of May 1, 2010 in the March 2012 Visa Bulletin. This, in turn, generated a large number of I-485 case filings, as well as eligibility for EB2 immigrant visas for individuals processing at U.S. consulates abroad. The lack of further advancement of the cutoff dates indicates that the prior forward movement has achieved the goal of generating the necessary demand for immigrant visa numbers. This means that that visa numbers are actually benefiting foreign nationals, instead of being wasted.

The April 2012 Visa Bulletin does not contain predictions for future cutoff date movement. Shortly after the bulletin’s issuance, however, the DOS advised that the EB2 cutoff dates will likely retrogress considerably in May or June 2012, as reported in the news item cited above. This, again, confirms that the advancement of the dates in the previous months’ visa bulletins have done the job of generating additional adjustment-of-status applications and using immigrant visa numbers at the consular posts abroad. We at the Murthy Law Firm will continue to provide updates regarding the visa bulletin, and reliable projections of date movement, as this is important to so many of our readers.

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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.