Analysis, Predictions, and Trends: Oct 2014 Visa Bulletin Update18 Sep 2014
The U.S. Department of State (DOS), through Charles Oppenhiem, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, provides key insights into the contents of the visa bulletin in monthly conversations with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Chief Oppenhiem has provided information that is of particular importance for individuals falling within the employment-based, second preference (EB2) India category.
EB2 India Visa Number Limit Reached for FY14
As announced in the MurthyDotCom NewsFlash, EB2 India Unavailable Until October 1, 2014, the DOS has issued all remaining EB2 India, visa numbers for fiscal year 2014 (FY14). This development, while disappointing to many, was not entirely unexpected. FY14 ends September 30, 2014. The DOS therefore is expected to allocate all FY14 visa numbers by September 30, 2014, to avoid wasting any immigrant visa numbers. So, it is common for the numbers to run out somewhat before the end of September each year.
This recent development does not mean that individuals are not allowed to file adjustment-of-status (I-485) applications in the EB2 India category, during the month of September 2014. These filings will still be accepted if the priority date is prior to May 1, 2009, the cutoff date in the September Visa Bulletin. However, without more visa numbers available, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not be able to approve any more of the pending EB2 India I-485s before October 1, 2014, even if the priority date is current under the September Visa Bulletin.
EB2 India Expected to Retrogress
The DOS anticipates having to retrogress the EB2 India cutoff date near the beginning of fiscal year 2015 (FY15). The EB2 India cutoff date went unchanged from the previous month in the October 2014 Visa Bulletin, the first visa bulletin in FY15. However, the DOS expects to have to retrogress the date significantly and that it may need to do so as early as the November 2014 Visa Bulletin. The cutoff date could retrogress as far back as early 2005, according to the DOS. These predictions are, in part, based on USCIS reports of EB3-to-EB2 “upgrade” filings, which have substantially increased demand for EB2 India visa numbers.
Employment-Based, Fifth Preference (EB5) China Unavailability
Like EB2 India, the visa numbers in the EB5 investor category for mainland China have been depleted for FY14. As before, the DOS anticipates the need to establish a cutoff date for EB5 China at some point around the middle of FY15. The predicted month for this to occur is now May 2015.
Philippines: Lower Demand
The DOS reports that the demand in both the family-based (FB) and employment-based (EB) categories has declined for those born in the Philippines. While there are a fair number of FB and EB cases for Filipinos in the pipeline, many applicants are choosing not to move forward and pursue their cases to completion. For this reason, the cutoff dates have advanced.
The Murthy Law Firm appreciates the clarity of the information provided by the DOS, even when the news is not good. Individuals who fall within the EB2 India category and have a current priority date can and should continue to file I-485 applications. Delays in such filings may result in even longer wait times. The Murthy Law Firm will continue to provide visa bulletin updates as information becomes available.
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