The process of priority date advancement in the visa bulletin, is a matter of mystery to the immigration community. Immigration lawyers wish they have a crystal ball with which they can advise clients when their I-485 applications can be filed. Immigrants are always apprehensive about their green card applications and they do not know when their priority dates might become current. For certain Indian and Chinese nationals, the wait can be daunting. The US Department of State has recently made predictions regarding priority date advancement for Indian and Chinese nationals. This article provides a summary of these predictions.
It is important for Chinese and Indian EB-2 petitioners to file their I-485 applications in the first month of visa availability. Moreover, it would be wise for Indian nationals in the EB-3 category to take the steps necessary to file an EB-2 petition due to the long wait in priority dates. Priority dates will be advanced significantly for category EB-2 nationals of India and China but EB-3 category dates will remain stationary, according to the Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division of the Department of State, Charles Oppenheim.
For nationals of India and China in the EB-2 category, Mr. Oppenheim predicts that over the next few visa bulletins, priority dates could advance eight months by February 2012, then remain stationary through June 2012 when there is a possibility of retrogression. Mr. Oppenheim explained that retrogression is necessary to make sure that all the visa numbers are used before 9/30/12, otherwise they would be lost forever.
Priority dates are predicted to stay the same during 2011 for nationals of India in the EB-3 category, advancing only one month from December 2011 through June 2012. This is because India is limited to only 3,000 EB-3 based green cards per year and the queue is estimated at 210,000. If this were to remain, a 70-year wait is conceivable. There is legislation pending that could eliminate this limitation, which would cause priority dates to advance.
For nationals of China in the EB-3 category, priority dates are predicted to advance about three weeks per month during 2012, which would mean an advancement of four months between December 2011 and June 2012.
The prediction for the rest of the world is that EB-2 priority dates will remain current in 2012, and the prediction for the EB-3 is that dates will advance about four weeks per month, moving ahead almost six months between December 2011 and June 2012.
Mr. Oppenheim explained that priority date predictions are hard to make because the number of people in the queue is difficult to estimate due to the unknown number of spouses and minor children who will apply for a visa number with each foreign national.
At The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA, we file EB-2 and EB-3 based immigration petitions on behalf of our clients, and we can use priority dates to develop an EB plan for you. If you have questions about EB-2 or EB-3 based immigration, or even about an H-1B visa, immigration visa, other green card matter, or any other immigration process, please contact our immigration attorneys or call The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA at the nearest office close to you to consult with an attorney. The competent attorneys at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates are experienced in preparing EB-2 and EB-3 petitions, as well as other areas of employment-based immigration. Contact us for a free initial consultation.