The U.S. Department of State (DOS) recently released its March 2015 Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletin regulates adjustment of status (AOS) and consular immigrant visa applications by setting priority date cutoffs. Foreign nationals can file their AOS applications or obtain immigrant visas at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad if their priority dates are before the cutoff dates per the Visa Bulletin.

A few changes occurred for March:

  • The EB-2 India category advanced by sixteen months (September 1, 2005 to January 1, 2007)
  • The EB-3 category for Worldwide advanced by five months (January 1, 2014 to June 1, 2014)
  • EB-2 China category only advanced six months to September 1, 2010
  • EB-3 China category is still ahead of EB-2 China

 

Employment- Based All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA – mainland born INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C
2nd C 01SEP10 01JAN07 C C
3rd 01JUN14 22OCT11 01JAN04 01JUN14 01JUN14
Other Workers 01JUN14 15AUG05 01JAN04 01JUN14 01JUN14
4th C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C
5th
Targeted
Employment Areas/
Regional Centers
and Pilot Programs
C C C C C

 

While the EB-2 category for India has jumped considerably, the government is still experiencing a “delay” of eight years. While the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program also continues to be current, visa retrogression is still a possibility.

The DOS predicts the following movement in the next three months:

Employment-Based Second Preference Category

  • EB-2 Worldwide will remain current
  • EB-2 China will advance three to six weeks per month
  • EB-2 India will likely advance by four to six months.

Employment-Based Third Preference Category

  • EB-3 worldwide will continue to advance rapidly for the next several months.
  • EB-3 China category is expected to advance rapidly in the next few months. Demand is expected to increase and may result in adjustments to the cutoff date within the next six months.
  • EB-3 India will advance up to two weeks.
  • EB-3 Mexico will stay at the worldwide date.
  • EB-3 Philippines category will also stay at the worldwide date.

As cutoff dates can move forward, backward, or remain static, employers and employees should plan accordingly.

Resources:
http://www.natlawreview.com/article/department-state-releases-march-2015-visa-bulletin
http://www.natlawreview.com/article/march-2015-visa-bulletin-brings-only-modest-changes