Visa Bulletin Predictions by Charles Oppenheim - December 2016 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 December 2016 Visa Bulletin:  

  • Charles predicts that EB-1 China and EB-1 India will be subject to a final action date “at some point," in the near future, probably early next year.  EB-1 India has already reached the country limit, China is also getting very close.
  • Charles predicts that EB-2 Worldwide, EB-2 Mexico and EB-2 Philippines will be subject to a cut-off date no later than July. 
  • A final action date is imposed for EB-4 Mexico.
  • EB-3 vs. EB-2 China:  EB-3 China is currently about ten months ahead of EB-2 China.  Charlie expects this gap to continue to close but is not certain about how fast the closing will be.  He is limiting the forward movement of EB-3 China to accommodate for an anticipated influx of cases from "downgrading" form EB-2 China.
  • EB-3 vs. EB-3 India:  EB-3 upgrades are putting significant pressure on the EB-2 India category. Charles hopes that EB-2 India's final action date will move into 2009 at some point this fiscal year, but Charlie is not sure about when that may happen.  Unlike the past few years, heavy demand for EB-2 Worldwide this year means means little or no visa numbers are left to reallocate to EB-2 India.   For EB-3 India, Charles expects that it would "move up to one week, hold for several months, then move one week, and then hold again."
  • EB-2 Worldwide/Mexico/Philippines:  Charlie speculates that a cut-off date will be imposed no later than July for these categories due to heavy demand.
  • EB-3 Worldwide:  Charlie continues his warning about increasing demand for this category but he is not sure whether "this demand will be sustained."  
  • Charles's reminds about the December 9, 2016 expiration date of the non-minister EB-4 special immigrant category and the immigrant investor pilot program (I5 and R5).
  • Lack of visibility regarding EB-4 El Salvador/Guatemala/Honduras over the next 12 months: "We are aware that there was a very large volume of EB-4 Mexico cases already processed with 2015 and 2016 priority dates, and this is why we imposed a cut-off date for December.... Despite the high demand, at this time we do not anticipate a retrogression of the EB-4 final action date for these four countries this fiscal year, but because of the lack of visibility into USCIS data, we will continue to monitor the situation closely."
  • EB-4 annual country limit for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico: "None of these countries has reached the annual limit for this fiscal year yet, but we expect them to do so early in FY 2017."
(Source: AILA Doc. No. 14071401)


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