Priority Date Progress—Predictions from the Department of State

News Release from Jewell & Associates, PC – October 4, 2010 Charles Oppenheim, chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division of the Department of State, provided an overview of the likely progress of family and employment-based visa classifications at a recent meeting with AILA’s Washington, D.C. chapter.

Family-Based Classifications: Visas Currently Underutilized

Mr. Oppenheim expects priority dates in the family-based categories to continue advancing quickly. He attributed underutilization in these categories to the present economic climate, which may be discouraging foreign nationals from relocating to the United States and rendering petitioners unable to pay fees or comply with income requirements. Further, unlawfully present beneficiaries may be unwilling to travel abroad for consular processing due to bars on re-entry.

Employment-Based Classifications: Visas in EB-2 and EB-3 Oversubscribed

Mr. Oppenheim suggested that oversubscription in the EB-2 and EB-3 categories might be due to beneficiaries starting families between their petitions being filed and their priority date becoming current. Further, demand for the China and India EB-2 categories has increased as EB-3 beneficiaries have “ported” their priority dates over. This has not relieved pressure on the EB-3 category for these nationals, who can expect their priority dates to advance at the same pace in 2011 as they did in 2010. Mr. Oppenheim made the following predictions for priority date movement over the next few monthly Visa Bulletins:

  • EB2 China: Slow—one or two weeks per bulletin.
  • EB-2 India: Unchanged or very slow—a week or so per bulletin.
  • EB‐3 China and India: Slow—one or two weeks per bulletin.
  • EB‐3 Rest of World: Unchanged or slow in November.

Employment-Based Classifications: EB-1

Mr. Oppenheim finished on a positive note for China and India: under AC-21, unused EB-1 numbers from other countries have crossed over to their EB-1 categories, allowing 5,000-6000 visa numbers to be allocated rather than the normal limit of around 2,800. He also pointed out that remaining unused EB-1 numbers “fall down” into the EB-2 categories, which has added approximately 20,000 EB-2 numbers for India and nearly 6,500 for China.

 © Jewell & Associates, PC 2010