Charles Oppenheim explained that the demand for visa numbers is greater because of multiple dependents being added (many primary beneficiaries have married and have children). For example, approximately 45% of the visa numbers are used by the primary beneficiaries with the remaining 55% taken up by derivative beneficiaries (spouses and children).
He also explained that the number of EB3 to EB2 porting cases is very significant and because the mechanics of the EB3 to EB2 porting system does not allow advance notification to the Department of State’s Visa Office. This causes a significant number of EB3 to EB2 porting cases to appear without advance warning to the Visa Office and, as a result, the Visa Office has to hold cutoff dates back to accommodate such porting case.
As an example, Mr. Oppenheim cited that between October 1 and October 22nd his office noted that there were around 820 Indian nationals who ported from EB3 to EB2. In addition to EB3 to EB2 porting cases for Indian nationals, who are the majority of such cases, he sees an increasing number of EB3 to EB2 porting cases from ROW category.
Mr. Oppenheim suggested that the EB1 and EB5 categories are relatively popular this year and expects more numbers to be used in these categories, compared to the past years. He cited EB5 China category where the demand has been growing steadily (approximately 15% over the year before) and that a cutoff date for EB5 China is possible later this fiscal year (possibly around June 2014).
This high demand also means that there will be less spillovers to other categories such as EB2 India and China which would further contribute to the slow forward movement in these categories.
Mr. Oppenheim shared that his goal is to advance the cutoff dates more at the beginning of the fiscal year (October, November and December, and January visa bulletins) and then, as he is able to gauge demand for a particular preference category, adjust accordingly by either slowing down or retrogressing (if demand is high) or advancing even more (is demand turns out to be low).
Visa Bulletin Predictions – Employment-Based
EB1: This category is expected to remain current throughout the fiscal year.
EB2 ROW: This category is expected to remain current throughout the fiscal year; however, depending on demand he may introduce a cutoff date towards the end of the fiscal year.
EB2 China: This category is expected to continue to move forward by approximately 3-5 weeks per month in each Visa Bulletin.
EB2 India: EB2 India is expected to retrogress significantly by few years and remain at that date until the summer of 2014. The rationale behind this severe retrogression in EB-2 India is that there is simply too much demand in this category and the Visa Office has to stop the rate of new filings until USCIS and DOS are able to approve the pending case.
EB3 ROW, Mexico and China: This category is expected to move forward significantly over the next one or two months to stimulate demand for the next several months.
EB3 Philippines: This category is expected to keep moving forward by 2 weeks per month.
EB3 India: Unfortunately, this category continues to be oversubscribed and there is no forward movement expected in the December 2013 Visa Bulletin. Mr. Oppenheim indicated that a retrogression is very possible in the near future. However, as a positive sign, as many EB3 applicants are porting into EB2, there is some possibility that some EB3 visa numbers may be freed simply because some EB3 candidates will drop out of the EB3 demand line after receiving a green card under a newly ported EB2 category.
EB5: Mr. Oppenheim suggested that the demand for EB5 is increasing and he indicated that the most recent fiscal year noted a 15% increase in EB5 China cases. This makes it likely that there would be a cutoff date introduced towards the summer for EB5 China only.
Visa Bulletin Predictions – Family-Based
F1 ROW: This category is expected to advance by 3-5 weeks per month.
F2A: This category is expected to be held at its current level for several months. Mexico is likely to retrogress.
F2B: This category is expected to advance by 3-5 weeks per month.
F3: This category is expected to advance by 3-5 weeks per month.
F4: This category is expected to advance by 2-3 weeks per month.
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