Family-Based Projections. Because most family-based demand is generated at overseas posts, DOS has greater visibility into those categories and is able to move the final action dates more consistently than the employment-based categories, which has a high percentage of USCIS-based (adjustment of status) filings. As a result, dramatic fluctuations in the family-based categories tend to be rare and typically occur only when there is a surge in family-based applicants responding to the agent of choice letter and becoming documentarily qualified.
As noted in the May Visa Bulletin, the final action dates for FB-4 China and India will remain at July 22, 2003, consistent with the final action date for FB-4 Worldwide. However, we can expect to see changes soon due to an increase in demand in both of these categories in recent months. The FB-4 India final action date will likely retrogress, possibly as early as June. It may also be necessary to hold or retrogress the FB-4 China final action date in late summer. We will continue to watch these categories closely.
New Final Action Date for EB-4 and Certain Religious Workers (SR) Preference Categories. In May, a final action date of January 1, 2010 will be imposed for EB-4 and certain religious workers from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The imposition of a final action date for these countries in these categories is primarily attributable to a spike in demand for adjustment of status over the past two months for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJS) applicants. As noted in the Bulletin, any forward movement in these categories this fiscal year is unlikely.
DOS tells us that the per country limit for this category has already been reached for these countries for this fiscal year. Given EB-4 Worldwide demand, it is unlikely that there will be any additional “otherwise unused numbers” to allocate to these countries. Similarly, it is extremely likely that EB-4 India and Mexico will also become oversubscribed at some point during the summer months.
Folks who are impacted should plan to file I-485s for their EB-4 clients from these countries before May 1, 2016, when the cut-off date will be imposed.
EB-5 China. Although demand in this category is increasing, I-526 petitions are being acted upon more quickly so the final action date may continue to advance slowly. DOS has good visibility into demand in this category since most of these cases are at the NVC, although they are becoming documentarily qualified at their own pace. DOS will address EB-5s in greater depth on Friday, April 22nd at the 9th Annual IIUSA EB-5 Regional Center Advocacy Conference.
EB-2 and EB-3 Philippines. Since the last announcement, several folks have asked DOS for predictions for the Philippines employment-based categories. EB-2 Philippines remains current and DOS expects it to remain so for the foreseeable future. With regard to EB-3 Philippines, DOS expects the final action date to continue to advance a few months at a time, consistent with movement over the past few months. He does not foresee it returning to the Worldwide final action date this fiscal year.
There is significant pent up demand in this category and given the greater level of visibility into it, DOS is able to more the final action date consistently. Currently, the Texas Service Center has more than 1,600 EB-3 Philippines cases in the pending demand file and the Nebraska Service Center has more than 1,200. Demand at the U.S. Consulate in Manila is about half of that at USCIS. DOS hopes that the EB-3 Philippines final action date will advance as far as mid-2010 by the end of this fiscal year.
EB-2 and EB-3 China. Recently, number usage for EB-3 China has exploded due to the EB-3 downgrade effect that DOS has been expecting. Although anticipated, there was no advance warning as to when this dem