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December 2014 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. There were a few changes in trends from the previous month, some significant.

First Preference (EB-1): Priority Workers

As expected, 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 apply for permanent residence. The three types of applicant 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”

Applicants who qualify as Second Preference “EB-2” workers have no priority date cutoff, with two exceptions: those who are from “mainland” China (PRC) and India. The Chinese date continues its recent three-week advancements, while the Indian date remains stagnant after last month’s over-four-year retrogression. In fact, the Indian date for EB-2 has been volatile this year, with a retrogression to 2004 and subsequent advancement to 2009 before this latest re-retrogression. However, Charles Oppenheim, the Chief of Visa Control and Reporting at the USDOS, predicts that there will be no major advancements of this cut-off for a considerable amount of time.

China (PRC)December 8th 2009
IndiaFebruary 15th 2005
China (PRC)January 1st 2010
IndiaFebruary 15th 2005

To qualify as an EB-2 worker, one needs to either hold an advanced degree, a baccalaureate degree with at least five years’ “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)

All employment based applicants qualify at least in the “Other Workers” sub-category of Third Preference “EB-3” workers, and all EB-3 filers have priority date cut-offs. However, all areas of chargeability—except for India and China—continue to make strong multi-month advancements in both sub-categories. Only skilled or professional workers in China saw date advancement, though this was in line with other areas’ progressions. Unskilled non-professional “Other Workers” from China saw no movement, while all EB-3 applicants from India only saw a one-month advancement. (At this time, only workers from China experience a difference in priority date cutoff between those who are professionals or skilled workers and non-professional unskilled workers.)

China (PRC)January 1st 2010**
IndiaNovember 22nd 2003
All Other Areas*June 1st 2012
China (PRC)January 1st 2010**
IndiaDecember 1st 2003
All Other Areas*November 1st 2012

**”Unskilled” “non-professional” EB-3 applicants from China continue to see no movement since July’s two and a half year advancement to July 22nd 2005. Applicants of all other nationalities of have the same priority date requirement for both EB-3 types.

Observant readers may have noticed that, paradoxically, the priority date cut-off for EB-3 China filers is later than it is for its EB-2 counterpart. According to Chief Oppenheim, this phenomenon may last for several months. However, this should not be seen as cause to apply as EB-3 over EB-2. It is imperative to seek legal representation when dealing with issues as complex as these.

Other Employment-Based Immigrant Visas

The Fourth Preference “EB-4” and Fifth Preference “EB-5” visa categories remain current for all areas of chargeability, meaning all such applicants are immediately eligible to file for permanent residence.

EB-4 is an umbrella category for many disparate sub-categories. All applicants in these sub-categories are able to apply for permanent residence without delay. 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 USDOS, there may soon be a priority date cut-off for EB-5 investors from China. Greater than expected EB-5 applicants from the PRC caused the issuance of visas to exceed annual availability at the end of Fiscal Year 2013-2014. Because the USDOS 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 Charles Oppenheim to predict that Chinese EB-5 visas from FY ‘14-‘15 will be depleted by May 2015. This means that by then, it is likely that a priority date cut-off will be introduced. In other words, time is running out for many of those who do not wish to wait for EB-5 visas.

Putting together a case to file under the 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 the USDOS

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