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November 2013 Processing Times for Employment-Based (EB) Immigrant Visas and Oppenheim’s Predictions

The following analysis discusses the current processing times for employment-based immigrant visas as reported in the Visa Bulletin for November 2013 . The current processing times are then compared to the processing times from last month, as reported in the Visa Bulletin for October 2013, as well as with the processing times one year ago, as reported in the Visa Bulletin for November 2012.

First Preference: “EB-1: Priority Workers”

The processing times for first preference employment based (EB-1) visas worldwide has been current since at least last year.

Second Preference Employment-Based Visas: “EB-2: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability”

Global Glimpse: While the processing times for Mexico, the Philippines and all other chargeability areas remain current, the processing times for China and India continue to be backlogged. On October 23, 2013, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at the U.S. Department of State, Mr. Charles Oppenheim predicted that processing times for China E-2 visas will continue to move slowly and that India E-2 visas will retrograde beginning in December of 2013.

China: The processing time for China EB-2 visas is still oversubscribed. From October 2013 to November 2013, the priority date changed slightly, from September 15, 2008 to October 8, 2008. In November 2012, the priority date was April 15, 2006. Mr. Oppenheim predicted that China EB-2 visa processing will continue to move slowly.

India: The priority date cut-off for India EB-2 visas continues to be June 15, 2008. One year ago, the priority date cut-off was September 4, 2004. Mr. Oppenheim predicted that the cut-off date for India EB-2 visas will retrogress significantly, from June 2008 to 2004 or 2005 sometime next month. Mr. Oppenheim indicated that this retrogression is largely due to Indian nationals “upgrading” from EB-3 to EB-2.

Mexico: The processing time for EB-2 visas from Mexico remains current.

Philippines: The processing time for EB-2 visas from the Philippines remains current.

All Other Chargeability Areas: The processing time for EB-2 visas from all other chargeability areas remains current.

Third Preference Employment-Based Visas: “EB-3, Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers”

Global Glimpse: The processing time for all EB-3 visas worldwide continues to be oversubscribed. While processing times for China, Mexico and all other chargeability areas are progressing, the processing times for EB-3 visas from India and the Philippines have not changed since last month.

China: The processing time for China EB-3 visas is still oversubscribed. The priority date has changed from July 1, 2010 to October 1, 2010. One year ago, the priority date for China was April 15, 2006. Mr. Oppenheim predicts that China EB-3 visa priority date will remain ahead of China’s EB-2 priority date.

India: The priority date cut-off for India EB-3 visas remains September 22, 2003. In November 2012, the priority date cut-off for India was October 22, 2002. Mr. Oppenheim predicts that processing India EB-3 visas will continue to move very slowly.

Mexico: The processing time for Mexico EB-3 visas is oversubscribed. The priority date cut-off has changed from July 1, 2010 to October 1, 2010. Last November, the priority date cut-off was November 22, 2006.

Philippines: The priority date cut-off for Philippines EB-3 visas remains December 15, 2006. One year ago, the priority date cut-off for the Philippines was August 8, 2006.

All Other Chargeability Areas: The priority date cut-off for EB-3 visas worldwide changed from July 1, 2010 to October 1, 2010. Last November, the priority date cut-off was November 22, 2006. Mr. Oppenheim predicts that the worldwide EB-3 priority date cut-off could progress to 2011 sometime next month.

Other Workers

Global Glimpse: The processing time for visa for Other Workers worldwide is still oversubscribed. In China, the processing time for visas for Other Workers has progressed significantly since last month. Since October 2013, the processing time in Mexico and all other chargeability areas has also progressed at a normal rate. However, the processing time for visas for Other Workers from India and the Philippines has not changed since last month.

China : The processing time for Other Workers from China seeking employment-based visas continues to be backlogged. However, the priority date cut-off has progressed significantly from September 22, 2004 to October 1, 2010 since last month. The priority date was July 1, 2003 last November.

India: The priority date cut-off for India has remained September 22, 2003. One year ago, the priority date cut-off for India was October 22, 2002.

Mexico: The priority date cut-off for Other Workers from Mexico has changed from July 1, 2010 to October 1, 2010. In November 2012, the priority date cut-off was November 22, 2006.

Philippines: The priority date cut-off for the Philippines remains at December 15, 2006. The priority date cut-off for the Philippines was August 8, 2006 last November.

All Other Chargeability Areas: The priority date cut-off for all other chargeability areas has changed from July 1, 2010 to October 1, 2010. Last November, the priority date cut-off was November 22, 2006.

Other Employment-Based Immigrant Visas:

The processing time for fourth preference employment-based petitions (certain special immigrants), certain religious workers and the fifth targeted employment areas (employment creation visas) remain current across the board.

Mr. Oppenheim cautioned that the Department of State’s Visa Office is concerned that the EB-5 visa numbers for China are moving too fast and that the office is considering a cut-off for China EB-5 visas in June of 2014 or later. Mr. Oppenheim also indicated that the number of EB-5 visas has gone up worldwide.

For a chart showing the processing times described above, click here.

If you have any questions concerning the processing times for employment-based visas, please contact The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA to consult with an experienced attorney at one of our offices nearest to you.

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