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June 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. Like the last one, this month was very eventful. China’s EB-2 and EB-3 dates advance much farther than estimated, India’s EB-2 date keeps going, and EB-3 for the Philippines falls by another 2.5 years while the rest of the world’s (EB-3) date hits mid-February of this year.

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 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.” Many 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.

Both dates advance this month, but their situations are quite different. China’s date continues its series of unforeseen movements, jumping by another year. It is surprising for the situation to improve this much so soon. It is even more so when considering that the country’s EB-3 date is improving also. On the other hand, the Indian date’s movements are in line with predictions that they would slow as the date approaches 2009. It was in that year in bulletins from last fall (before retrogressing). It could finally hit a new high soon.

China (PRC)June 1 st 2012
IndiaApril 15th 2008

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

Third Preference Immigrant Workers (EB-3): " Skilled Workers and Professionals" and “Other Workers” (Two Separate Sub-Categories)

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 last month. It was hinted that this would happen, but retrogression this strong was not expected. Even worse, the date fell by another 2.5 years this month.

For Chinese filers, however, the retrogression from two months ago is nearly canceled out. But with the continued EB-2 jumps, this advancement does not signify a chance for the dates to switch places again. All in all, this is another very good month for non-EB-5 Chinese filers. The Chinese Other Workers date** even moved by a few months again.

The Indian date, however, is still stuck at one-week-per-month at the bottom of 2004. Demand here is likely strong enough to preclude any major advancement for a year at least. The rest of the world’s date, however, is doing very well. Without the Philippines in its scope, it inches even closer to the present day by making it to mid-February of this year. It doesn’t look like the date will hit the present day, but it’s still possible.

China (PRC)May 1st 2011
IndiaJanuary 15th 2004
PhilippinesJuly 1 st 2007
All Other Areas*January 1st 2015

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

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, immigrants must create or save at least 10 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 last month, there had never been a cutoff in this category. There is now one for Chinese filers, as had been long predicted. Priority date cutoffs affect this category somewhat differently than they do the others. While potential investors can start the process right away, only those whose petitions were received by USCIS before May 1st 2013 may obtain EB-5 residence. This date is not expected to advance for a while. (Again, this only applies to Chinese filers.) Unfortunately, this complicates matters a great deal. We recently published a blog article on the subject.

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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