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

Below is our monthly analysis of the State Department’s Visa Bulletin regarding employment-based immigration. This is a very eventful time for the EB categories. China’s EB-2 continues to press forward as its EB-3 falls by almost seven years. India’s EB-2 date remains frozen, but its EB-3 finally has a solid advancement. Filipino EB-3 is available again—but is not yet near its former glory. In sharp contrast, the rest of the world’s EB-3 date is less than a month from the present day.

First Preference Immigrant Workers (EB-1): Priority Workers

All those who qualify as EB-1 workers continue to have no priority date cut-off. (They are also immediately eligible to petition for permanent residence because 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 Immigrant Workers (EB-2): "Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability"

To qualify as an EB-2 worker, one must 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.” Many EB-2 workers have no priority date cutoff. However, the two largest areas, India and mainland China, do. The Chinese date continues to press on, but India’s is at its third month frozen at its current date.

China’s date movement was expected to be continuous and gradual—but it’s been a little better than what this description predicts. Difficulty is not expected here yet. The Indian date, on the other hand, appears to be a victim of increased EB-2 demand in general. It remains frozen, and significant forward movement doesn’t seem likely until the new fiscal year starts (in two months).

China (PRC)October 1st 2013
IndiaOctober 1st 2008

China (PRC)December 15th 2013
IndiaOctober 1st 2008

Third Preference Immigrant Workers (EB-3): "Skilled Workers and Professionals" and "Other Workers"

Third Preference “EB-3” workers are effectively 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, and historically only those from India and China have experienced appreciable wait times. However, Filipinos joined them a few months ago. Somewhat unusually, the three share a date cut-off of June 1st 2004.

While they are all at the same place, there is little similarity in where they are all coming from. The most striking part of this is the Chinese date. The Visa Office had predicted a continued standstill, and we thought that they were being overly conservative in this estimate. Instead, the date falls by almost seven years further into the past. To put it into perspective, however, India finally makes an over-one-month advancement to hit this date. This too was unexpected.

After being made unavailable last month, the Filipino date appears be improving again. Not long ago, it was part of the “all other areas” cut-off date, but fell individually all the way down to 2005 before being unavailable. It now appears to be on its way back up. It may take some time for it to rejoin the “all other areas” date. This is partly because that date has nearly reached the present day. If it were to advance by more than six weeks next month, EB-3 for all other areas will be effectively in open enrollment for nations affected.

China (PRC)September 1st 2011
IndiaFebruary 1st 2004
All Other Areas*April 1st 2015

China (PRC)June 1st 2004
IndiaJune 1st 2004
PhilippinesJune 1st 2004
All Other Areas*July 15th 2015

**Other Workers from China have a priority date cutoff of January 1st 2004. It fell by two years this month, the first such event in a long time. However, this is not very bad in comparison to the other Chinese EB-3 date. Immigrants of all other nationalities have the same priority date cutoff for both EB-3 types, so the two are combined in the chart.

Certain Special Immigrants (EB-4)

EB-4 is an umbrella category for many disparate and specific sub-categories. They are:

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

Immigrants that fit any of these descriptions are able to petition for permanent residence without delay (because no labor certification is required). We can determine what applicants stand a good chance of qualifying as an EB-4.

Employment Creation (EB-5)

This category is for immigrant investors. To qualify in most locations, $1,000,000 must be invested, but in “Target Employment Areas” this is cut by half. (These are rural areas or places with unemployment rates at least 1.5 times the national average according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.) In both cases however, the investment must create or save at least 10 U.S. jobs to ultimately qualify for permanent residence. They can invest directly and run their own businesses, or they can invest with less risk through a “regional center.” We have written several articles on the subject.

Until a few months ago, there had never been a cutoff in this category. There is now one for Chinese filers, as had been long predicted. (Those of all other nationalities may ignore this.) Priority date cutoffs affect this category somewhat differently than they do the others. While potential Chinese investors can start the process right away, only those whose petitions were received by USCIS before September 1st 2013 may obtain EB-5 residence. Unfortunately, this complicates matters a great deal. We recently published a blog article on the subject.

After a decent advancement last month, the date remains frozen. A slight movement is expected next month.

Successfully filing 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 quickly as possible.

*All other “areas of chargeability” as defined by the State Department

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