January 2010 visa bulletin delivered little to cheer about, but DOS offered some predictions on future visa availability which can be quite helpful.
Employment-Based First, Fourth and Fifth Preferences
For January 2010, all EB1, EB4 and EB5 categories remain current.
Employment-Based Second Preferences (EB-2)
All EB2 countries other than India and China are still current in January. For India-born applicants, the cutoff date is still 01/22/2005 – no change from the December 2009 visa bulletin. Applicants from mainland China saw their PD cut-off date advancing just one month, to 05/01/2005.
Employment-Based Third Preferences (EB-3)
The situation is not much better for EB-3; although all countries of chargeability moved forward, it was a 1 or 2-month advance across the board. For January, EB3 Worldwide, Philippines and China stand at 08/01/2002, while Mexico is one month behind at 07/01/2002, and India trailing by one year at 06/22/2001.
EB-3 Other Workers category has the same PD cutoff date for all countries: 06/01/2001.
How come EB cutoff dates didn’t move in recent months?
The Department of State offered an explanation in the January Visa Bulletin: At the end of FY 2009, which ended on September 30, 2009, many EB categories were “unavailable.” So when FY-2010 visas were released during October and November, the demand was very high because of the large number of eligible I-485 cases. USCIS was also processing green card applications at a fast pace, and may have pre-adjudicated many of them, which resulted a high depletion rate of visa numbers for the first quarter.
With older cases now near completion, another batch of visa numbers are being released, which is the reason why January has started to see some forward movement.
Projections for cut-off date movement for the remainder of FY-2010
The Department of State offered some predictions on visa availabilities from now to September. These projections are helpful in many ways, but should be treated as just estimates.
- EB-1 is likely to remain current for all countries of chargeability throughout FY-2010.
- EB-2, other than India and China, is also likely to remain current.
- EB-2 China and India will continue to be oversubscribed, and may even become “unavailable” if high demand depletes available visa numbers before the end of September.However, if there are unused visa numbers from a particular category during a calendar quarter, they may be made available to China and India (or other oversubscribed counties) without regard to per-country limitation. This is usually referred to as visa “rollover” or “spill-over” in the immigration community.In case of visa rollover, the same cutoff date is applied to each country receiving the extra visa numbers. So if EB2 India is still more retrogressed than China when that occurs, more visa numbers may go to EB2 India because there are more applicants with earlier priority dates.
- EB-3 is expected to move forward but continue to have cut-off dates for all countries. For this reason it is unlikely there will be any visa numbers unused.
In summary, DOS projects the following cutoff date movement for the remainder of FY2010 (best case scenario)
|Employment Second (EB-2):|
|China:||July through October 2005|
|India:||February through early March 2005|
|In case of visa rollover or spillover:|
|China:||October through December 2005|
|India:||October through December 2005|
|Employment Third (EB-3):|
|Worldwide:||April through August 2005|
|China:||June through September 2003|
|India:||January through February 2002|
|Mexico:||January through June 2004|
|Philippines:||April through August 2005|
Family-based visa bulletin projections
Cutoff date movement in the family preferences has been relatively fast recently and DOS expects the trend to continue for at least a few more months. The reason is that fewer applicants are proceeding with their consular processing cases, as well as the low volume of FB adjustment of status cases. However, DOS warns that the movement may slow or even stop at some point, and certain categories may retrogress further if demand picks up.