Check-in with DOS's Charlie Oppenheim

Check-in with DOS's Charl…

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. AILA posted about the most recent check in on April 18, 2019. First, he answered some member questions. Then, he discussed his predictions for movement in family-based and employment-based preference categories.

Family-Based Preference Categories

Oppenheim noted that all FB-1 categories (except FB-1 Mexico, which stayed the same) and all FB-2A categories advanced steadily. He said that demand trends for FB-1 and FB-3 remain constant and predictable, but that the other FB preference categories have lower than average demand. FB-3 Philippines and FB-4 Philippines show the most consistent decrease in demand. Oppenheim warned that if demand quickly rises, it could lead to rapid regression in Final Action Dates, but he does not predict this happening.

Employment-Based Preference Categories

In the EB-1 category, demand levels across all countries remain high. Oppenheim cautioned that the high EB-1 number usage may cause retrogression in Final Action Dates in China and India. If this were to happen, Oppenheim said that it would be temporary and that the dates would fully recover at the start of the new fiscal year in October 2019. AILA members are encouraged to file I-485 applications as soon as possible as a result of this possibility, and are warned not to expect any forward movement for EB-1 China and EB-1 India for the rest of FY2019.

The EB-2 category remains current, and Oppenheim predicted that it will continue to be current for the rest of FY2019.

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 warned not to expect this relatively fast forward movement to continue perpetually. Abrupt increase in demand could lead to retrogression, but Oppenheim does not expect this to happen in FY2019 based on current trends and the numbers still available in this visa category.

Final Action Dates for EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras remain at March 8, 2016, and EB-4 Mexico advanced four months to August 1, 2018. Oppenheim expects steady forward movement in EB-4 Mexico until this category reaches its per country limit (which will probably happen in July or August). He also predicts additional movement in EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in the remainder of this fiscal year. He does not know whether a Final Action Date will be imposed in the EB-4 India category before the end of the fiscal year, but he expects the category to become current again in October when FY2020 begins.

EB-5 demand worldwide has increased. EB-5 China advanced one week and Oppenheim predicted that it movement will continue to advance based on the rate of demand in the EB-5 category. Likewise, EB-5 Vietnam advanced one month. Oppenheim expects this category will reach its limit in July 2019.

For More Information:

Read the May 2019 Visa Bulletin here and our blog post about it here.

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.

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This information comes from a news release from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA Doc. No. 14071401).