The National Visa Center has issued a report of the number of visa applications in the employment-based categories and family-based categories pending at NVC. The report is based upon the number of cases pending as of November 1, 2010. Not surprisingly, the Philippines is low on the number of 1st preference and 2nd preference employment cases but topped the list in the third preference category. The NVC reported that it has 44,903 EB3 cases from the Philippines (down about 500 cases from last year) but only 56 cases in the 1st preference category and 294 cases in the 2nd preference category.
By law, the minimum number of employment based green cards allowed per year is 140,000. The allocation for the 3rd preference category is limited to 28.6% of the overall total or 40,040. No country gets more than 7% or 25,620, whichever is higher. The “actual” number of employment based green cards that have been issued in the EB3 category (based upon the allotted limits and the trickle down from higher categories) during the last three years is as follows: 89,922 in 2006, 85,030 in 2007, and 48,903 in 2008. Note: the larger number in 2006 and 2007 is in part due to the Schedule A legislation that provided for an additional 50,000 immigrant visas.
There are a few “positive” points for Filipino’s in the third preference employment-based category. First, the vast majority of the overall number of 3rd preference cases from the Philippines is included in this count: since a large number are professional nurses, which don’t normally qualify for H-1b’s, most Filipino cases are in the “NVC” count rather than the “USCIS – I-485 count”. Last years I-485 count showed that there were less than 12,000 Filipino I-485 cases. Second, the low number of 1st preference and 2nd preference cases for the Philippines means there will be a lot of visa numbers that get to “trickle down” to the third preference category. According to the NVC report, there are only 56 Filipino cases in the 1st preference and only 294 cases in the 2nd preference category. Third, there are at least some cases that are duplicates, and thus fall out of the system. Some applicants have lost their sponsorship (company went out of business and/or job no longer available given the long wait for the immigrant visa) and have obtained sponsorship through a second employer. Thus, some applicants have more than one case pending. Third, the number of cases pending at NVC has decreased since last year, indicating some visas issued from earlier priority dates and yet a very low number of new cases being filed.