As part of the most recent AILA DC Chapter meeting, a discussion session was held with Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division at the Department of State’s Office of Consular Affairs, in which Mr. Oppenheim predicted upcoming priority dates for employment-based visas.
Unfortunately, Mr. Oppenheim predicted that EB-2 India will see a significant retrogression by end of this calendar year, possibly back to early 2005. EB-2 India is then expected to remain in early 2005 until at least next summer. This is due in part to the fact that as primary beneficiaries wait for their priority dates to become current, many get married and/or have children causing the number of green cards per case to increase while the overall number of green cards allocated remains the same. In addition, Mr. Oppenheim noted that many EB-3 India cases are being ported to the EB-2 category as they become eligible. Porting requires the Office of Consular Affairs to hold back the priority dates as these cases change categories without prior notice. EB-3 India is predicted to remain stagnant, although as cases are ported into the EB-2 category the EB-3 date may be able to move forward.
Another contributing factor to the slow forward movement for India is the popularity of the EB-1 category, leaving fewer unused visas to spill over into the EB-2 and EB-3 categories.
On a positive note, EB-3 China is expected to move forward significantly, perhaps has far as late 2009 or early 2010 in the next few months. The Rest of the World (“ROW”) EB-3 is also expected to see significant forward movement. EB-2 China is expected to move forward as well, although only by 3-5 weeks per Bulletin.
Finally, Mr. Oppenheim noted that the demand for the EB-5 category is the highest its ever been. As such, for the 2015 fiscal year the category is expected to remain current except for China which may see the introduction of a priority date resulting in a one to two year waiting period.