Friday, September 30, 2016
EB-4 and Certain Religious Worker (SR) Preference Categories. As predicted last month, the final action dates for EB-4 India and EB-4 Mexico will be current again in October and the priority dates for EB-4 El Salvador/Guatemala/Honduras will advance to June 15th, 2015. While DOS considered establishing a separate final action date for Guatemala and Honduras due to the higher demand for numbers from El Salvador, all three countries are expected to exceed the per country limitation and rely on the availability of “otherwise unused” EB-4 numbers. Thus, DOS confirmed that the three countries will continue to be reported together throughout Fiscal Year 2017.
It is expected that EB-4 India and EB-4 Mexico will remain current for the foreseeable future, until at least late spring, early summer of 2017. EB-4 El Salvador/Guatemala/Honduras is expected to advance modestly, by no more than two months at a time in a best case scenario. DOS notes that there is likely more demand in this category at USCIS to which DOS does not yet have visibility, so the predictions may change depending on the rate at which such demand begins to materialize.
EB-4 religious workers will be unavailable in October, pending congressional action to reauthorize the program beyond September 30th, 2016. Should that occur, El Salvador/Guatemala/Honduras would be subject to a June 15th, 2015 final action date, and all other countries would be current.
EB-1 China and India. In October, the EB-1 final action date for all countries will return to current. Due to the brief imposition of a final action date in India and China at the end of the Fiscal Year 2016, there will be high usage in these categories in October. EB-1 India and China can be expected to remain current for the foreseeable future. DOS will continue monitor this category closely during the second half of the fiscal year if demand remains high.
EB-2 and EB-3. As predicted, EB-2 Worldwide will again be current in October and ahead of EB-3 Worldwide which will have a final action date of June 1st, 2016. As there is pent-up demand in EB-2 Worldwide due to the retrogression, visa usage in this category will be high in October. Prospective Beneficiaries should not be concerned that a cut-off date will be imposed during the first half of the Fiscal Year. DOS will monitor this category closely during the final quarter of the Fiscal Year.
Consistent with DOS’ predictions, in October, EB-2 China will have a final action date of February 15th, 2012, almost one year behind EB-3 China’s final action date of January 23rd, 2013. Thus, the EB-3 downgrade phenomenon should once again be expected for Fiscal Year 2017. DOS did not advance either of these final action dates to the full number use target given the likelihood of demand at USCIS that is not yet visible and to minimize the need for corrective action later in the Fiscal Year. DOS hopes to keep the final action dates for EB-2 and EB-3 China as close to one another as possible.
Also consistent with DOS’ predictions, the final action date for EB-2 India will advance to January 15th, 2007 in October. DOS expects this category will advance at a pace of up to four months at a time.
Slower movements of up to a week at a time are anticipated for EB-3 India, which will advance to a March 1st, 2005 final action date in October. Number usage for EB-3 India is expected to be high in October, which will decrease the amount of numbers DOS can allocate in November and December and slow the advancement of this category.
The EB-3 Philippines final action date will be December 1st, 2010 in October. DOS expects this category to initially move up to three weeks per month. He hopes that the final action date will move through 2011 as soon as possible and that it will be well into 2013 by the end of the fiscal year.
EB-5 China. EB-5 China non-regional centers will have a final action date of February 22nd, 2015 in October. EB-5 China regional centers will be “unavailable” in October pending Congressional reauthorization of the program beyond September 30th, 2016. Should this category be reauthorized, the final action date will be set at February 22nd, 2014. So as not to completely halt visa processing in October, DOS has set tentative IV appointments for the second half of October, which will be remain scheduled in the event that Congress reauthorizes the program.
Family-Based Projections. In October, the final action date for F-2A will be December 22nd, 2014 for all countries except F-2A Mexico, which will be December 1st, 2014. As has been the case during FY 2016, F- 2A Mexico is expected to lag behind the rest of the world by about 3 weeks for the rest of the fiscal year. China and India’s final action dates track those for the rest of world in all family-based categories with the exception of F-4. DOS expects F-4 China to catch-up to the final action date for F-4 Worldwide within three to four months. The F-4 India final action date will advance into 2013 for November, but unlike F-4 China, will remain behind F-4 Worldwide for the foreseeable future.
Application Filing Dates. Given higher levels of demand in relation to the expected availability of numbers during FY 2017, the Application Filing Dates in several categories, such as EB-5 China and EB-2 India, have retrogressed. AILA members are reminded to refer to USCIS’s website as to whether it will honor the Application Filing Dates for I-485 applications.
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