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.
Due to low demand over the past few months in family-based preference categories, Final Action Dates have generally advanced rapidly. If demand were to increase, however, it would lead to a lack of movement or potentially retrogression. In contrast with this steady forward movement in most categories, FB Mexico categories have not moved much due to high demand. Oppenheim does not expect movement for the rest of FY2019, and forsees some retrogression in some FB Mexico categories.
USCIS will provide more detailed projections for family-based preference categories in a few weeks.
Because of a shift in policy that required EB adjustment of status (AOS) applicants to interview at USCIS District Field Offices which led to fears of longer processing times, there has been a significant increase in consular processing. Oppenheim predicts, however, that consular processing will decline soon as applicants become more comfortable with the new AOS interview process. As a result of these lower rates of USCIS office use for filing AOS applications, Oppenheim was concerned that the annual limit would not be reached. However, this was not the case.
Demand for EB-1 Worldwide remains consistent, and it is unlikely that it will return to 'current' for the remainder of FY2019. Oppenheim also predicts that EB-1 India will not advance and that the Final Action Date will return to February 22, 2017 at the start of FY2020. He expects EB-1 China to advance to May 8, 2017 in next month's visa bulletin.
Oppenheim predicts that EB-2 will remain current through the rest of the fiscal year. EB-2 China will advance to November 1, 2016 in the July visa bulletin, but Oppenheim warns that if demand increases, advancements in this category will slow down or stop. EB-2 India will likely advance slowly; demand is currently very high. There are 14,000 Indians with pending AOS applications filed in 2012. It is possible that lower EB-2 Worldwide demand will help this category advance this summer, but Oppenheim is unsure. USCIS assures AILA members that this situation is being closely monitored.
EB-3 Philippines will become current and EB-3 Mexico and EB-3 Worldwide will remain current in July 2019 according to Oppenheim. He expects EB-3 China to advance to January 1, 2016 in July and notes that demand for this category is increasing. The Final Action Date for EB-3 India will not move forward next month, and Oppenheim is unsure when it be able to advance.
Final Action Dates for EB-4 will remain current for most countries except El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. Oppenheim predicts that Final Action Date for these countries will remain at July 1, 2016 for the rest of FY2019.
The Final Action Date for EB-5 China is likely to remain for the rest of the fiscal year. EB-5 Vietnam and EB-5 India will reach their per country limits next month.
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).