November 11, 2013
The Department of State has released the December Visa Bulletin, and it contains some fairly big news: priority dates for the third preference employment-based categories (EB3) advanced by a full year for China, Mexico, and “All Other.” Meanwhile, employment-based categories for India (EB2 & EB3) moved in the opposite direction, with the EB2 cutoff date retrogressing nearly 3.5 years in response to what the Department of State calls a “dramatic increase in the level of applicant demand received in recent months:”
The India Employment Second and Third preference category cut-off dates were advanced very rapidly at the end of fiscal year 2013. Those movements were based strictly on the availability of thousands of “otherwise unused” numbers which could be made available without regard to the preference per-country annual limits.
The movements have resulted in a dramatic increase in the level of applicant demand received in recent months. This has required the retrogression of those cut-off dates for December in an effort to hold number use within the numerical limits.
Cut off dates for Family-based preference categories for Mexico are unmoved from November. The other family-based cut-off dates moved as follows:
As mentioned, there was big movement in both directions for employment-based categories:
The Department of State also issued the following guidance for potential movement in the coming months:
FAMILY-sponsored categories (potential monthly movement)
F1: Three to five weeks
F2A: No forward movement, the Mexico cut-off date is likely to retrogress
at some point
F2B: Three to five weeks
F3: Three to five weeks
F4: Two or three weeks
EMPLOYMENT-based categories (potential monthly movement)
Employment First: Current
China: Three to five weeks
India: No forward movement
Worldwide: This cut-off date has been advanced extremely rapidly during the past seven months in an effort to generate new demand. As the rate of applicants who are able to have action on their cases finalized increases, it could have a significant impact on the cut-off date situation. The rapid forward movement of this cut-off date should not be expected to continue beyond February.
China: Expected to remain at the worldwide date
India: No forward movement
Mexico: Expected to remain at the worldwide date
Philippines: Three to six weeks
Employment Fourth: Current
Employment Fifth: Current
The above projections for the Family and Employment categories are for what is likely to happen during each of the next few months based on current applicant demand patterns. Readers should never assume that recent trends in cut-off date movements are guaranteed for the future, or that “corrective” action will not be required at some point in an effort to maintain number use within the applicable annual limits. The determination of the actual monthly cut-off dates is subject to fluctuations in applicant demand and a number of other variables. Unless indicated, those categories with a “Current” projection will remain so for the foreseeable future.