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July 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 and EB-3 dates stop their big advancements, and EB-5 moves four months ahead. India’s EB-2 date freezes with no positive development to make up for it. Filipino EB-3 becomes unavailable, but the rest of the world’s EB-3 date is less than three months 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 (PRC) China, do. Both dates have advanced well recently, but this has stopped, with India’s date stopping altogether.

China’s advancement is now moving as expected, with moderate but hopefully regular forward movements. The Indian date, however, is performing worse than expected. The prediction was that it would soon reach its old peak date of mid-2009, but zero movement now could indicate that this is unrealistic.

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

July
China (PRC)October 1st 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 two months ago. Such an eventuality was only hinted at by the Visa Office, but the actual retrogression was much stronger than imagined, and now EB-3 from the Philippines will be wholly unavailable next month.

While not as bad as the Filipino situation, the Chinese date failed to move this month. However, a lack of movement here isn’t as indicative of future slowness as it is for the EB-2 Indian date. This is because what relationship there should be among China’s EB dates may not yet have been determined by the Visa Office. So, there’s a good chance of moderate advancement next month.

The EB-3 Indian date, however, is still stuck at one-week-per-month near the bottom of 2004. Demand here is likely strong enough to preclude any major advancement for many months. The rest of the world’s date, however, is doing very well. It inches even closer to the present day by making it to April of this year. It doesn’t look like the date will hit the present day, but it seems even more possible each month.

June
China (PRC)September 1st 2011
IndiaJanuary 22nd 2004
PhilippinesJanuary 1st 2005
All Other Areas*February 15th 2015

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

**Other Workers from China have a priority date cutoff of January 1st 2006. 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 two 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.

This date was not expected to advance for a while, but this month it moved by four months to reach its current cutoff. This could indicate that Chinese immigrant investors haven’t been able to find many credible ways around the problem, which implies lower demand. The more that this happens, the further into the future the date will move.

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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