A few weeks ago, Charlie Oppenheim, from the Visa Office at the Department of State met with several AILA representatives including super lawyer and friend Michael Nowlan and discussed visa demand, retrogression, and priority date movement for the balance of FY 2013. In summary, it was a somber meeting with lots of bad news for those of you hoping for quicker priority date movement. The predictions provided were summarized and published in the March Visa Bulletin. In addition, there were several items of interest I wanted to share:
-The India EB2 cutoff date continues to see very little forward movement due to upgrades (EB3 to EB2 while maintaining the earlier priority date). In December 2012 alone, India EB2 had 125 cases approved that were from 2003 or earlier.
- USCIS does not appear to be working to develop any processes or procedures to better capture upgrade EB cases, and so there is no better information expected from that agency to assist Mr. Oppenheim’s office in better managing these numbers. Upgrades are impacting other categories as well. Worldwide EB3 had 1,100 upgrades in December 2012 alone for cases which had priority dates of 2011 or earlier. In 2007 for example, there were only 72 upgrades for the year.
-EB1 India and China appear to have used their numbers for this year, but the rest of open EB1 numbers can “fall across” to satisfy the need from India and China for EB1, so no retrogression is expected at this time.
-Current numbers indicate that there are approximately 42,000 India EB2 cases in line with priority dates prior to May 2010. There are 12,000 India EB3 cases with priority dates before January 2004. India EB3 has 44,000 cases with priority dates before August 2007
-For 2012, 45% of the visa numbers in the queue are for the principal applicants, and 55% are for dependents.
The need for immigration reform which addresses the long waits for legal immigrants is sorely needed.