Massive Retrogression in June Visa Bulletin12 May 2016
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) June 2016 Visa Bulletin sent shock waves through the immigrant community, with years of retrogression in the employment-based, second preference (EB2) category for India and China, as well as the employment-based, third preference (EB3) category for China. The rollback of cutoff dates in the employment-based categories was nearly all in the final action (FA) chart. The dates for filing (DF) chart remained nearly unchanged. As of this writing, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has not indicated whether the cutoff dates in the DF can be used in June as a basis for filing an adjustment of status application.
Summary: June 2016 Visa Bulletin
Employment-Based, First and Fourth Preferences (EB1 and EB4)
As expected, EB1 remains current for all countries during the month of June 2016. The EB4 category also stays current, with the exception of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, which continue to have a January 1, 2010 cutoff date.
Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2)
The EB2 category contains unwelcome surprises for both India and China. The category remains current, with the exception of these two backlogged countries. In the FA chart, EB2 India’s cutoff date retrogresses by more than four years, to October 1, 2004. EB2 China retrogresses by more than two-and-a-half years. China’s cutoff date for June 2016 is January 1, 2010.
Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3)
The EB3 worldwide category cutoff date of February 15, 2016 again is unchanged. This FA cutoff date also applies to EB3 Mexico, as well as El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The EB3 India cutoff date advances by several weeks, to September 22, 2004. The cutoff date for EB3 China experiences more than three years of retrogression, with a new cutoff date of January 1, 2010. This means EB3 China now matches the cutoff date for EB2 China. EB3 for the Philippines advances to November 1, 2008.
Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3) Other Workers
The EB3 other workers FA cutoff dates match the general EB3 cutoff dates, with the exception of China. China’s EB3 other workers cutoff date remains unchanged, at April 22, 2007. The only change in the DF chart for the employment-based categories is that EB3 China other workers advances by sixteen months, to August 1, 2009.
Employment-Based, Fifth Preference (EB5)
The EB5 category remains current, except for China. China’s FA EB5 cutoff date advances by only a week, to February 15, 2014.
Explanation and Predictions
The DOS attributes the retrogression to “extremely high levels” of demand. The DOS expects to be able to advance the EB2 India cutoff date slowly in the upcoming months, at a pace similar to EB3 India. The cutoff dates for EB2 and EB3 China are not expected to advance for the rest of the fiscal year.
The DOS states that it will try to move the cutoff dates forward during fiscal year 2017 (FY17) to match the cutoff dates reflected in the May 2016 Visa Bulletin. However, at this time, the DOS cannot estimate when in FY17 this may occur.
The severe retrogression in the June 2016 Visa Bulletin is undoubtedly causing increased anxiety and frustration for many foreign nationals who long to live out their American dream. MurthyDotCom will continue to closely track these matters and provide updates as new information becomes available.
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