Check-in with DOS's Charlie Oppenheim
March 27th, 2019
AILA's Department of State (DOS) Liaison Committee checks in each month with Charlie Oppenheim, the Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at DOS for updates about Visa Bulletin progress. Oppenheim also provides analysis of current trends and predicts future visa availability. His predictions of Final Action Date movement are based on his analysis of movement in each category over recent months and cases that are currently pending at the USCIS National Benefits Center.
Family-Based Preference Categories
Oppenheim expects movement in the family-based preference categories to be consistent with recent visa bulletins, and to continue to progress steadily. However, he warns not to get accustomed to constant forward motion in these categories. Due to lack of demand the dates are advancing more rapidly than usual. Though, if demand rises, it could result in regression, delay, and unpredictable movement. Oppenheim notes the unusually fast movement in FB-3 and FB-4 Philippines, which advanced six months in the April 2019 Visa Bulletin.
Employment-Based Preference Categories
In the EB-1 category, demand levels across all countries remain high, and usage of EB-1 visas is 25% higher than EB-2 and EB-3. The increased demand for EB-1 Worldwide has negatively impacted EB-1 China and EB-1 India, and Oppenheim does not expect any movement of EB-1 China and EB-1 India Final Action Dates. Movement is only possible if EB-1 Worldwide slows down, which is unlikely if the current trends continue; EB-1 Worldwide usage has been increasing 15% each month. The DOS Liaison Committee points out that the demand for the EB-1 category may be inflated due to the Trump Administration's Buy American Hire American Executive Order and the administration's desire to prioritize immigration for the most highly educated, skilled, and paid workers. Some EB-1 related Adjustment of Status applicants are called for interviews before their I-140 petitions are approved, which has the potential to skew Oppenheim's data for this preference category.
The EB-2 category remains current, and Oppenheim predicts that it will continue to be current if trends continue. Approximately half of EB-2 Worldwide numbers for this fiscal year have been used and by the end of this fiscal year, we can expect for all numbers to be used. The Final Action Date for EB-2 India only advanced three days in the April 2019 Visa Bulletin. However, since all EB-2 numbers should be used by the end of FY2019, numbers will not remain for EB-2 India.
EB-3 India remains ahead of EB-2 India, but EB-3 China is still behind EB-2 China. Oppenheim expects these trends to continue. For EB-3 Philippines, rapid advancement continues. The demand for EB-3 Philippines is low, which will continue to generate forward movement. As with the EB-1 category, however, Oppenheim warns not to expect this relatively fast forward movement to continue perpetually.
Final Action Dates for EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras advanced one week, and EB-4 Mexico advanced three months. Oppenheim expects steady forward movement in EB-4 Mexico until this category reaches its per country limit. Oppenheim also predicts additional, yet minimal movement in EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in May or June. Demand remains consistent for these categories, but if numbers are available these categories should advance later in the year. Oppenheim foresees EB-4 India reaching its per country limit in August or September 2019, but expects the category to become current again in October when FY2020 begins.
EB-5 I5 and R5 have recently been reauthorized, and as a result, Oppenheim expects demand in these categories to increase in the near future.
For More Information:
This blog post does not serve as legal advice and does not establish any client-attorney privilege. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our legal team directly.
Find us on LinkedIn.
This information comes from a news release from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA Doc. No. 14071401).