The July 2012 Visa Bulletin was released today and the headline was the establishment of a cut-off date of 2009-01-01 for EB-2 ROW (all countries other than those listed separately). Although DOS has recently warned of potential retrogression for EB2 ROW, the backward movement of 3+ years still came as a surprise to many. After all, the EB2 ROW category has been “Current” for all but two months in the last decade!
The retrogression was obviously caused by heavy demand for visa numbers, but what caused such a high demand this year? My first guess would be EB3 to EB2 conversions, given that ROW EB3 has been hovering around a six-year wait which could give people enough motivation to make the switch. Unfortunately there is no government data on this subject so we can only guess. Of course, it could simply be that more people are applying for green cards, although I’m a bit skeptical given the state of the U.S. economy in recent years.
Now a brief recap of the July Visa Bulletin:
- EB1 remains current across the board;
- EB2 India and China remain “unavailable”;
- EB2 ROW, as well as Mexico and Philippines, moves back three years to 2009-01-01;
- EB3 moves forward by a few weeks for all categories;
- EB3-Other moves forward at its usual pace, with China finally starting to advance;