Check-in with DOS's Charlie Oppenheim
August 21st, 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. AILA posted about the most recent check-in about the September Visa Bulletin on August 16, 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
The F2A Final Action Date remains current in September 2019. Significant demand in FB Mexico preference categories continues. Conversely, lack of demand in FB Philippines has helped the Final Action Dates advance. Oppenheim expects consistent movement in family-sponsored preference categories until demand increases.
Employment-Based Preference Categories
Oppenheim warns not to expect any of the EB-1 categories to become current any time in the foreseeable future. He does not want to predict the Final Action Dates for October. It is very unlikely that EB-1 India will recover and become available again soon due to high demand. EB-1 China retrogressed 2.5 years to January 1, 2014. EB-1 Worldwide (including EB-1 El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, EB-1 Mexico, EB-1 Philippines, and EB-1 Vietnam) advanced 15 months because there was lower demand than expected in July and August.
EB-2 Worldwide (including EB-2 El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, EB-2 Mexico, EB-2 Philippines, and EB-2 Vietnam) advanced one year to January 1, 2018. EB-2 India moved forward 6 days to May 8, 2009, and EB-2 China remains at January 1, 2016. Unlike the other employment-based preference categories, Oppenheim is confident that the Final Action Dates for the EB-2 category will return to current in October or November 2019.
The entire EB-3 category is now unavailable and will remain unavailable for the rest of the fiscal year with the exception of EB-3 China Other Workers. Oppenheim cannot say when the Final Action Dates will become current again. AILA notes that already scheduled USCIS interviews will continue for all categories even if they have retrogressed or become unavailable. Failure to attend AOS interviews can result in denial of an AOS application. However, officers may not proceed with interviews and they may be rescheduled.
The entire EB-4 category is also unavailable. This is because in June 2019, there was an increase in decisions for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) cases. These decisions led to a significant and unexpected increase in demand that rendered the EB-4 category unavailable.
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This information comes from a news release from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA Doc. No. 14071401).