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April 2015 Visa Bulletin Analysis for Employment-Based (EB) Immigrant Visas

Below is our monthly analysis of the State Department’s Visa Bulletin for employment-based cases. EB-2 once again has more recent (and therefore better) priority dates than EB-3 across the board. The former continues to experience advancements while the latter is marred with a slowdown and a retrogression. The expected introduction of an EB-5 China date cutoff has been pushed back to June.

First Preference (EB-1): Priority Workers

All those who qualify as First Preference "EB-1" workers continue to have no priority date cut-off. In other words, they are immediately eligible to petition for permanent residence. (No labor certification is required.) The three types of immigrant who qualify as EB-1 workers are "persons with  extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, or business," "outstanding professors and researchers," and "multinational managers or executives."

Second Preference (EB-2): " Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability"

Many Second Preference "EB-2" workers have no priority date cutoff. However, the two largest areas, India and mainland (PRC) China, do. While this is an unfortunate distinction for many immigrants, the cutoffs are now advancing strongly.

Nonetheless, it is unclear how long they can keep this up. For the Chinese date, the strong advancements may be done for now. It is finally more recent than its EB-3 counterpart, so there should be no more downgrade petitions reducing demand for it. The Indian date's movements are expected to keep up for at least a few more months. The cutoff was in 2009 in bulletins last fall (before retrogressing), so it should not be farfetched to assume that it will make it back to 2009 by the end of the year.

China (PRC) September 1 th 2010
India January 1st 2007

China (PRC) April 1st 2011
India September 1st 2007

To qualify as an EB-2 worker, one needs to either hold an advanced degree, a baccalaureate degree with at least five years of “progressive experience” in the field one wishes to enter in the United States, or be considered a “person of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.”

Third Preference Employment-Based Visas (EB-3): “ Skilled Workers and Professionals” and “Other Workers” (Two Separate Sub-Categories)

Third Preference “EB-3” workers are cut into two sub-categories: “Skilled Workers and Professionals” and “Other Workers**.” (For all areas except for China, both sub-categories share the same date.) All EB-3 immigrants have priority date cut-offs, but only those from India and China are experiencing appreciable wait times.

China (PRC) October 22 nd 2011
India January 1 st 2004
All Other Areas* January 1 st 2014

China (PRC) January 1 st 2011
India January 8 th 2004
All Other Areas* October 1 st 2014

**Other Workers from China have a priority date cutoff of August 15th 2005. Applicants of all other nationalities have the same priority date cutoff for both EB-3 types, so the two are combined in the chart.

As it turns out, the Chinese Skilled Worker advancements were more than DOS could handle: the date has retrogressed back to the beginning of 2011. This backward movement (along with a corresponding EB-2 advancement) signals the end of the long strange period in which EB-3 was a more attractive option than EB-2 for Chinese filers. The Chinese Other Workers date remains stagnant, but this is usual. (It makes fewer but greater advancements in general.)

But even with the Chinese retrogression in mind, Indian filers in this category have it much worse. Their date is stuck at one-week-per-month at the bottom of 2004. Demand for numbers here is strong enough to preclude any significant advancement. The rest of the world’s date, however, is doing great. It is not expected to reach the present day, but it wasn’t expected to get this close in the first place.

Other Employment-Based Immigrant Visas (EB-4 and EB-5)

The Fourth Preference “EB-4” and Fifth Preference “EB-5” visa categories remain current for all areas of chargeability, meaning all such immigrants are immediately eligible to file for permanent residence. EB-4 is an umbrella category for many disparate and specific sub-categories. They are

Religious Ministers; Iraqis that assisted the United States; Children and Spouses of Deceased NATO-6 employees;
Broadcasters; Employees of International Organizations; Panama Canal Zone Employees; and
Afghan/Iraqi Translators; Members of the Armed Forces; retired NATO-6 employees.

An immigrant qualifying for any of these sub-categories is able to petition for permanent residence without delay. (No labor certification is required.) The attorneys at our law firm will be able to determine what applicants stand a good chance of qualifying as an EB-4.

The EB-5 category, however, is for foreign investors. According to Charles Oppenheim, the Chief of Visa Control and Reporting at DOS, there will soon be a priority date cut-off for EB-5 investors from China. We recently published a blog article on this subject.

Greater than expected EB-5 applicants from mainland China caused the issuance of visas to exceed annual availability at the end of Fiscal Year 2013-2014. Because DOS had already announced that these visas were current for the rest of the fiscal year, the government "borrowed" visas from the following fiscal year's supply. This has prompted Visa Chief Oppenheim to predict that Chinese EB-5 visas from FY '14-'15 will be depleted by June 2015. This means that by then, it is likely that a priority date cutoff will be introduced. In other words, time is running out for many of those who do not wish to wait for EB-5 visas. Our firm is ready to file EB-5 cases as fast as possible to help our clients avoid the cutoff.

Putting together a case to file under one’s most favorable visa category possible can be a daunting process. Contact the Law Firm of Shihab & Associates to ensure that your employment based immigration to the United States goes as smoothly and as fast as possible.

*All other “areas of chargeability” as defined by DOS

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