The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) recently met again with Charles Oppenheim to discuss the demand and expected movements in various visa bulletin categories.
Charles Oppenheim is the Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division within Department of State (DOS).
Please see the important details below as well as notes from another meeting:
EB2 India: This category advanced less than expected in September visa bulletin due to higher demand in EB5, EB1 and EB2 category. Hence the amount of spillovers to EB2 India was less. In addition, demand in EB2 India category has also increased due to (1) new filings and (2) upgrades from EB3 India to EB2 India category.
DOS expects this category to retrogress as early as November 2014. However DOS did not give any predictions/estimates on how far this category could retrogress.
EB3 Philippines: The cut off date for this category is now same as EB3 ROW. This is due to (1) reduced demand in EB1 Philippines and EB2 Philippines (2) low demand from EB3 Philippines. EB3 Philippines will continue to have same cutoff date as EB3 ROW for next few months. After that, the dates may change depending on demand in EB1, EB2 and EB3 Philippines category.
EB5 China: This category became unavailable starting from August 23, 2014 and will remain unavailable till Sept 30, 2014. This means EB5 China is unavailable for fiscal year 2014. EB5 China will be available starting from October 1, 2014 (start of fiscal year 2015).
An important note for EB5 China applicants is that if they have set up interview overseas (consulate processing), visas will continue to be available. Visas will not be available for EB5 China applicants who has not yet set up an interview. However USCIS/NVC will continue to process EB5 China applications.
In addition, DOS is also expecting another retrogression in EB5 China for FY 2015. The estimated date for this is around June 2015. Since EB5 China can use up visas from other EB5 countries, the chance of EB5 China category retrogressing for FY 2015 is currently very low.
2014 Diversity Visa: The demand for diversity visa was much higher than anticipated. In case you are unaware, DOS issues more winners for DV lottery than actual visas available to make sure that visas do not go unused. Due to this high demand, DOS could adjust the levels for 2015 diversity visa lottery. This could result in lesser number of people selected.
To know more about diversity visa, please see right side of this page (under the Popular News sections)
Quick Note For All Categories:
When dates move forward, it takes time for USCIS to process all
application and then request a visa number from DOS. Hence there could
be a big delay (4-8 months) from the time USCIS receives application to
when DOS can estimate actual demand.
Earlier, we have seen that USCIS sometimes reported low numbers, even
when demand was higher. This resulted in significant retrogression when
the real demand was calculated by DOS.
Also when applicants upgrade or downgrade application, they are counted
twice. There is currently no way for DOS to identify these duplicates.
Hence identifying the real demand can be very hard and may result in
visas been wasted at the end of fiscal year.