Visa Bulletin for July 2015 and Predictions of Visa Availability for the Rest of 2015

The Visa Bulletin for July 2015 is  now available. The Visa Bulletin is a monthly publication by the Bureau of Consular Affairs, that is a part of the Department of State (DOS). This bulletin provides valuable information on the immigrant visa numbers (green cards) availability for family sponsored categories and employment based categories for the month of June.

This visa bulletin also has data on Diversity Immigrant Category cut off estimates as well as notes on visa availability in the coming months.Please click the link below to view the most recent visa bulletin:

Website: Visa Bulletin for July 2015

From American Immigration Lawyers Association, AILA Doc. No. 14071401:

Immediately following publication of each month’s Visa Bulletin, AILA will “check-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. Through these discussions, it is hoped that Charlie will provide us with additional insight, beyond the basic visa availability updates that are provided in the monthly Visa Bulletin.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE JULY VISA BULLETIN AND PREDICTIONS FOR THE REMAINDER OF THIS FISCAL YEAR

Family-Based Preference Categories. The family-based preference categories have been advancing steadily, with FB-1 advancing four weeks, FB-2A advancing 3 to 6 weeks, FB-2B and FB-3 advancing up to one month, and FB-4 advancing up to 6 weeks. This is because the number of applicants seeking to finalize action on their cases has not been excessive.

Employment-Based First and Second Preference Categories. EB-1 and EB-2 worldwide is expected to remain current for the foreseeable future. Charlie anticipates continuing forward movement in EB-2 China, but at a slower pace through this fiscal year. As a result of the advancement of EB-2 India earlier this year, advancement in this category is expected to slow as we approach the end of the fiscal year, primarily due to EB-3 upgrades. Unexpectedly, demand for EB-2 worldwide has more than doubled over the past few months, causing the EB-2 India cut-off date to hold steady in July. Unless there is a significant decline in EB-2 worldwide demand, Charlie does not anticipate any forward movement in EB-2 India for the rest of this fiscal year.

Employment-Based Third Preference. Charlie expects EB-3 worldwide to reach the summer of 2015 by the end of this fiscal year and expects that the cut-off date will hold steady for some time before deciding whether some other type of corrective action is required for the next fiscal year. The EB-3 China cut-off date is expected to remain the same through the rest of the fiscal year. EB-3 India is expected to advance by one to two weeks. EB-3 Mexico will continue to follow EB-3 worldwide.
One of the most dramatic actions for July is that the EB-3 Philippines and “other worker” categories will become unavailable, and will likely remain so through this fiscal year.

Employment-Based Fourth Preference. EB-4 is experiencing greater demand and as a result, Charlie may need to establish a cut-off date in September for up to five countries: Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and India. If it appears that this will be necessary, it will likely be announced in the August visa bulletin.

Employment-Based Fifth Preference—China. EB-5 China advanced to September 1, 2013 for July and is likely to continue to advance, possibly as far as November, by the end of this fiscal year.

Greater Coordination with USCIS Forthcoming. At present, Charlie estimates future USCIS visa usage by looking at historical patterns because of limited visibility into cases pending at USCIS, unless there has been a retrogression of a previously established cut-off date. USCIS is actively exploring ways to provide the Visa Office with more detailed information on which to base cut-off date movements. Stay tuned…

CHARLIE’S ANSWERS TO MEMBER QUESTIONS

QUESTION 1: Because the worldwide EB-3 category has advanced so rapidly since March 2015, is there any indication when corrective action may be required?

ANSWER: I believe that the initial corrective action will begin no later than October, and that will be holding the cut-off date steady for several months. I estimate that it takes at least five months from the day an applicant files their adjustment application until USCIS has finalized all required processing and requests a number. Therefore, I will not see the impact of the May cut-off date movement until October, June movement until November, etc.

It is extremely hard to predict how quickly the level of demand would start to exceed my monthly targets for FY2016 number use. Should the level of demand begin to exceed the targeted level, then further corrective action would be considered.

QUESTION 2: Do you have any projections related to the FB-4 category for individuals born in Mexico? The category retrogressed in June, after steady progress earlier this year. Do you anticipate that the category will progress back to where it was in April 2015 (July 8, 1997) or perhaps further?

ANSWER: The date advanced while demand was low, with the movements eventually generating more than enough demand. Based on the current demand levels, I doubt that it will return to the July 15, 1997 date before December, at the earliest.

QUESTION 3: FB-4 worldwide experienced a large regression in February 2011. It took more than three years (until August 2014) to work back to the date where the category had been before the regression. FB-4 is now moving rapidly again, more than a month each month. Do you expect the category to continue to move at this rate or is another regression likely in the near future?

ANSWER: Applicants in most family-sponsored categories are not responding to the NVC requests that they provide the required documentation which would eventually lead to their being scheduled for a visa interview. Therefore, I must advance the cut-off date rapidly in order to maximize number use by those applicants who have responded, and attempt to generate new demand. If/when demand eventually begins to materialize hopefully it will be at a slow and steady pace. That would allow for the required adjustments (e.g., slow, hold) to be made to the cut-off date(s) which would prevent any retrogression, or at least as drastic as that which was experienced in 2011.

QUESTION 4: Was the unexpected sudden demand for 2000 visa numbers in a period of 2 months primarily from USCIS, and if so, have you been able to determine if USCIS still has pending files such that it is likely to repeat this demand for visas in the future?

ANSWER: Assuming that this question is about the EB-3 Philippines retrogression, yes, the use of these numbers came from USCIS. The same thing is currently happening with EB-2 worldwide, and has prevented the expected forward movement of the EB-2 India cut-off date, which would have been possible because of “otherwise” unused worldwide EB-2 numbers.

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