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 the most recent check-in about the November Visa Bulletin on October 24, 2019. Oppenheim discussed his predictions for movement in family-based and employment-based preference categories.
The current demand trends for family-based preference categories are unusual. The F2A Final Action Date remains current across all countries, and the demand for the F2A category remains low. The Mexico family-based preference categories except F2A continue to move slowly because of high demand. Oppenheim expects movement for Mexico family-based preference categories to move at about the same pace as last fiscal year. Also, the Final Action Dates for Philippines family-based categories are experiencing rapid movement. According to Oppenheim, applicants are not moving forward to process as quickly as they have done in the past resulting in low demand. Because of this low demand, Oppenheim may advance the Final Action Dates faster than the October 2019 Visa Bulletin reports.
In November, EB-1 Final Action Dates for EB-1 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico, Philippines, and Vietnam) advanced approximately five weeks. The Final Action Date for EB-1 China advanced a full three months due to low demand, but Oppenheim warns that this advancement could slow down. The Final Action Date for EB-1 India remains at January 1, 2015 and Oppenheim does not expect it to move anytime soon. He notes that 17% of the EB-1 India numbers for the first quarter of the fiscal year have already been used.
Oppenheim cautions that EB-1 China and EB-1 India will reach their per-country limits soon, and the only possibility of fast movement in these categories is extremely low demand in EB-1 Worldwide. However, there is significantly lower demand in EB-1 Worldwide this year than over the past few years. As a result, EB-1 Worldwide might return to 'current' some time this fiscal year.
EB-2 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico, Philippines, and Vietnam) remains current. Oppenheim expects this category to remain current for the foreseeable future. EB-2 India advanced only one day in the November Visa Bulletin. Oppenheim attributes this extremely slow advancement to the increase in upgrade requests from EB-3 to EB-2. EB-2 China advanced two months in November. Oppenheim predicts downgrades from EB-2 to EB-3 which might allow EB-2 China to advance faster.
Oppenheim is surprised at the high levels of numbers used in the EB-3 category this fiscal year. Despite the high demand, he expects EB-3 Worldwide to remain current through January at least. EB-3 China is receiving downgrade requests, which, as noted above, limits the advancement of EB-3 China while potentially increasing the rate of advancement for EB-2 China. Oppenheim predicts little to no movement for EB-3 India.
The Final Action Date for EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras continues to hold at July 1, 2016 in November. Oppenheim does not expect forward movement in this category any time soon due to extremely high demand. EB-4 Mexico advanced two months to July 22, 2017 and demand for this category is beginning to rise. EB-4 Worldwide (including China, India, Philippines and Vietnam) remains current. Despite being unavailable at the end of last fiscal year, EB-4 India is recovering quickly. Oppenheim expects EB-4 India to be available through January at least.
Oppenheim did not discuss EB-5 projections this month because he will be speaking at the Invest in the USA (IIUSA) EB-5 Conference in Seattle tomorrow, October 29, 2019.
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).