Visa Bulletin Predictions: April 2017 and Onward




Every month after the release of the monthly visa bulletin, DOS Visa Office Chief Mr. Charlie Oppenheim would provide his insights on the trends, movements, predictions, etc., regarding the usage of immigrant visa numbers.  The following are the highlights of his insights following the publication of the April 2017 Visa Bulletin:  

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1) EB-1 India and China: Per country limits of 2,800 visas has been reached for both, with EB-1 India using more than 9,000 numbers, and EB-1 China using more than 4,500 numbers. Once the spillover visa numbers from other categories have been used up, Final Action cut-off date "will likely be imposed for both countries at some point this summer."
2) EB-3 China:   EB-3 China is 17 months ahead of EB-2 China as of April.  Charlie expects "downgrading from EB-2" will bring these two categories closer in cutoff dates - which historically usually happens in May.  However, thus far, demand for EB-3 China visa numbers is light.  Still, Charlie is reluctant to advance its cutoff date aggressively because of the Downgrade Phenomenon. 
3) EB-3 Worldwide:  This category is not expected to become current in the near future, but "will likely advance about one month at a time, staying about two months away from being current."
4) EB-3 Philippines:  The Final Action Date advances six months to September 15, 2012 for April.
5) EB-5 China. EB-5 China advances to May 22, 2014 in April. Advancement will likely to continue if the Regional Center pilot program is reauthorized by Congress before the end of April.

6) EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico: "Number usage in the EB-4 categories for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico continues to approach the per-country annual limits. While Charlie anticipates significant demand in these categories based on information provided by USCIS, there is still a possibility that their Final Action Dates may advance at some point this summer."

7) Family-Based Preference Categories:
-  All FB-1 categories advance more than four months in April to October 15, 2010, except Mexico and Philippines.
-  FB-1, FB-2 and FB-3 are expected to continue their advancement because fewer applicants are becoming "documentarily qualified."
-   FB-4's advancement in April was "sufficient to meet Charlie's target for this category for the next two to three months." No further advancement of FB-4 Worldwide is expected until July.

8) Question: Why is the Final Action Date for EB-3 China later (August 15, 2014) than the Filing Date for EB-3 China (May 1, 2014)? 
Charlie explained that there was a retrogression of the Filing Date for EB-3 China because he was concerned that the number of eligible applicants for FY 2017 would likely exceed than that of FY 2016. Further,  In addition, the above-mentioned EB-2 to EB-3 Downgrade Phenomenon may also cause demand to increase for this category later on.  Hence, he is putting a hold on the Filing Date. 
(AILA Doc. No. 14071401, March 17, 2017)

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