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The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) DOS Liaison Committee provides a series of monthly updates designed to keep members informed of Visa Bulletin progress and projections.

Immediately following publication of each month’s Visa Bulletin, AILA “checks-in” with Charles (“Charlie”) Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State, to obtain his analysis of current trends and future projections for the various immigrant preference categories.

Mr. Oppenheim is responsible for setting the cut-off date for immigrant visa priority date movement each month. Here are Mr. Oppenheim’s comments for the month of October 2017:

EB-2 Worldwide

As anticipated, this category becomes current again on October 1, and should remain current for the foreseeable future.

EB-2 India

The fiscal year starts with a final action date of September 15, 2008 for EB-2 India and is expected to advance at a pace of up to one month at a time. It is hoped that the final action date will reach early 2009 at some point in the next calendar year.

The biggest factor impacting forward movement for EB-2 India will continue to be demand for EB-3 to EB-2 upgrades. Recently, up to half of the monthly target has been used by these upgrades.

EB-3 India

The final action date for EB-3 India remains at October 15, 2006 as we start the fiscal year, and is likely to hold steady in November, with some movement possible in December.

The reason this date is holding steady despite the influx of new visa numbers at the start of the fiscal year is that the date has already been advanced knowing that many September cases would likely require updates which may not allow final action to occur prior to September 30.

Such cases would then be identified and returned to the Visa Office, so that they could be available for October use, by which time the required information should be received.

The numbers that were “reallocated” to October exceeded the desired target, preventing any forward movement of the date.

EB-2 China and EB-3 China

EB-3 China will start the fiscal year with a final action date of January 1, 2014, which is almost eight months ahead of EB-2 China’s final action date of May 22, 2013. Even with the advancement of EB-3 China,

Mr. Oppenheim is not fully utilizing the monthly target in an effort to avoid a drastic retrogression later this fiscal year as a result of increased demand.

This situation is once again ripe for EB-2 to EB-3 downgrades resulting in the demand Mr. Oppenheim is expecting.

EB-2 China’s modest advancement is attributable to material demand and a desire to maintain steady though limited forward movement through the fiscal year.

EB-3 Worldwide

EB-3 Worldwide’s final action date, which became current in August, continues to remain current in October and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future.

EB-3 Philippines

The final action date for EB-3 Philippines advances one month to December 1, 2015 in October and may advance up to two months at a time as we enter the new fiscal year.

QUESTION:

Could the expected delay in USCIS employment-based (EB) green card processing due to the new interview requirement result in fewer EB green cards being approved each year? If so, how would this impact final action dates for India and China?

ANSWER:

About 85 percent of the numbers used in most employment-based categories can be attributed to adjustment of status cases processed by USCIS.

The State Department will continue to work closely with USCIS throughout the year to help ensure that the maximum numbers of visas that are available are utilized.

As always, the level of demand will be compared with the numbers that remain available for future use.

That will determine whether and how much final action dates are advanced throughout the fiscal year.

Photo: “Fortune Teller” by Josh McGinn is licensed under CC BY 2.0