Visa Office Updates on Priority Dates and Demand of EB-2 and EB-3 for India
In a conversation with a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Department of State’s Visa Office provided information and updates regarding demand in the employment-based EB-2 and EB-3 immigrant visa categories. Please note that these notes are based on personal impressions of the officer at the Visa Office and are subject to change based on new developments.
Following are some of the observations:
- As of November 20, 2013 no additional EB-2 numbers will be allocated for EB-2 India adjustment of status applications for the rest of November (this means that no additional EB-2 India green cards can be approved with a priority date after November 2004 (the December Visa Bulletin’s cutoff date), even though earlier Visa Bulletin for November had not yet retrogressed. The November Visa Bulletin confirmed that as soon as retrogression was announced for December, it could take effect immediately.
- The demand for India EB-2 visa numbers has been unprecedented.For instance, from the 10th to the 20th of November, the Visa Office received requests for approximately 150 EB-2 India green card numbers per day from USCIS. The demand was so great, that the unusual action of cutting off the category during the month had to be taken. A majority of these requests were from “upgrades” where the beneficiary had established a priority date in the EB-3 category, and now qualified for EB-2.
- It is very possible that in August or September 2014, the last two months of the 2014 fiscal year, EB-2 India will advance again to around December 2008. However, that is only an educated guess at this time. No exact date is certain.
- Some of the following factors which will affect the forward movement of the category and the availability of extra visa numbers, for India EB-2 and other categories, between now and the end of the 2014 fiscal year:
- Usage of visa numbers in the EB-1 category that would “drop down” to EB-2;
- The number of EB-3 to EB-2 “upgrades” from other countries;
- The number of EB-2 India visa numbers used for applicants with priority dates before November 2004; and
- The fact that the total worldwide quota is about 8,000 visa numbers lower than the previous year.
The Worldwide EB-3 category moved forward a year in December because there does not appear to be very many of these applications currently pending with USCIS. As demand builds over the fiscal year, and more conclusions can be drawn from the number of pending cases, the EB-3 Worldwide category may retrogress during this fiscal year.
- In the last fiscal year, close to 15,000 EB-2 visa numbers were allocated to pending EB-2 India cases in August and September 2013, for cases that were pre-adjudicated by USCIS.