UNITED STATES - Department of State Advises that May 2012 Visa Bulletin to See Severe Retrogression for India and China

  • United States
  • 03/19/2012
  • Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP

The May 2012 Visa Bulletin will have severe retrogression in the employment-based second preference (EB2) category for nationals of India and China, according to Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at the U.S. Department of State, who made the announcement at the Chicago Chapter Regional Conference of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. According to Mr. Oppenheim, the visa numbers for May 2012 will likely revert to August 2007 or earlier. The April 2012 Visa Bulletin reports that visa numbers are available in the EB2 category for nationals of India and China with a priority date prior to May 1, 2010. This retrogression moves the visa numbers back more than two years.

One reason for this backward movement of visa numbers is due to an increase in demand. According to Mr. Oppenheim, as of the week of March 16, 2012, approximately 4,300 cases were identified by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for visa numbers to be issued with a prediction of a total of 8,000 by month’s end. Another factor causing the retrogression is that the employment-based first preference (EB1) category has a higher use than in 2011 (40,000- up from 26,000 from last year). All the unused visa numbers in the EB1 category last year resulted in those being available for the EB2 category. Since there is such a higher demand for visa numbers in the EB1 category this year, there will be less unused and available to be “rolled down” to the EB2 category, if there are any at all.

BAL Comment

With severe visa retrogression to occur in the May 2012 Visa Bulletin for EB2 India and China, we advise clients to ensure that all eligible immigrant visa and adjustment of status applications are filed by April 30, 2012. Once the immigrant visa numbers are exhausted for the fiscal year, new immigrant visa numbers are not available until the beginning of the next fiscal year which is October 1, 2012. Immigrant visa availability for the new fiscal year cannot be predicted at this time since it is based on demand. Please contact your BAL attorney should you have any questions about the May 2012 Visa Bulletin and its impact.