February 2017 Visa Bulletin Check-In: Explanations and Predictions23 Jan 2017
Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division for the U.S. Department of State (DOS), supplies visa bulletin explanations nearly every month. This month’s update regarding the February 2017 Visa Bulletin provides insights and predictions related to several backlogged categories; unfortunately, many of the predictions are quite discouraging. Although most of the information addresses expected movement in the final action (FA) chart, Mr. Oppenheim also touches on the possibility of movement in the dates for filing (DF) chart.
Employment-Based, First Preference (EB1)
The EB1 category is current for all countries of chargeability, but that is expected to change in the coming months. A cutoff date will be implemented for EB1 China and India before the end of the fiscal year 2017 (FY17), which runs through September 30, 2017. It then will return to being current on October 1, 2017.
Employment-Based, Second Preference (EB2) India
There continues to be a large number of EB3-to-EB2 ‘upgrade’ filings for India. Further, there is strong demand for EB2 worldwide. This means that EB2 India likely will not return to last year’s cutoff date of November 22, 2008 before the end of FY17, as previously expected. In fact, EB2 India is unlikely to see any significant movement until this summer.
Employment-Based, Third Preference (EB3)
There has not been a surge of EB2-to-EB3 ‘downgrade’ filings for China, but Mr. Oppenheim thus far has resisted moving EB3 China’s cutoff date forward significantly. This is because he wishes to avoid having to retrogress the category if demand suddenly increases. EB3 Philippines, on the other hand, is expected to move forward relatively quickly in the coming months. No information was provided regarding EB3 India, but there is little reason to believe that this category will see any significant movement in the near future.
Employment-Based, Fourth Preference (EB4)
There is tremendous demand in the EB4 category for Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. For the time being, these cutoff dates likely will not move at all.
Employment-Based, Fifth Preference (EB5)
Mr. Oppenheim expects the cutoff date for EB5 China to move about 1-to-2 weeks per month. EB5 is expected to remain current for all other countries of chargeability.
Possible Movement in Dates for Filing (DF) Chart
Mr. Oppenheim was asked whether stakeholders can expect any movement in the DF chart in the coming months. “I monitor these dates throughout the fiscal year,” he responded, “and there may be some updates in the coming months. Changes in the filing dates tend to be more dramatic at the beginning of the fiscal year, but changes are sometimes required in the second half of the year based on demand patterns and future needs.”
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