The DOS has released the January Visa Bulletin and for persons in the EB3 category “all chargeability except” and for persons from PRC, the news was good as the priority dates jumped forward. For persons from India and the Phillipines, there remained little to no forward progress. The lack of movement for the EB3 category for persons from the Philippines was particularly disheartening as the DOS had been predicting movement of up to three (3) weeks each month. There was no explanation from the DOS for the lack of movement.
The DOS has released the April Visa Bulletin and unfortunately, the movement of EB2 dates for Indian and Chinese nationals halted with dates remaining the same as the March bulletin. Historically, a month where dates remain constant indicates that the DOS may have enough demand to utilize all available immigrant visas for a fiscal year and it would not be surprising if the date stayed at May 1, 2010 or retrogressed. The EB3 category continued its all too familiar pattern of inching forward.
Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3012, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act by an overwhelming vote of 389-15. This bill would change the way employment-based (EB) green cards are allocated by eliminating the per country quotas. If the bill becomes law, it will equalize the waiting times for employment based permanent residence, which would result in significant advancement in EB green card availability for India and China. Unfortunately, it would also create retrogression for persons from other countries, specifically those in the EB2 category, who now enjoy a “current” status. The seven percent limit per country would be eliminated by 2015. Instead of separate queues for each country in each employment based green card category, there would be eventually be a single queue for each employment-based green card category.
Until 2015, per-country limits on green cards would still exist, but a certain number of immigrant visas would be immediately allocated to India and China and away from other countries. As a result, priority dates for India and China would quickly advance in the EB-2 and EB-3 categories. However, for other countries EB-2 could retrogress and EB-3 could see further retrogression. By 2015, the EB-2 and EB-3 categories would all be backlogged, but there would be a single priority date for all countries in each category.
Although, certainly not a perfect solution, this bill is a step in the right direction and corrects one glaring defect in the employment based green card system. It is hoped that the positive reaction that this bill received in the House would motivate other immigration bills including: special treatment for STEM and Schedule A occupations, an overall increase in the level of employment based immigration, the elimination of counting dependents toward the overall EB quota, a re-capture of unused immigrant visa numbers from prior fiscal years, and/or a market based approach to the H-1b quota. As this bill is considered by the Senate, it is hoped that further positive amendments could be added.
The bill will not become law until it passes the Senate and is signed by the President. We expect the Senate to take up this bill soon however, no time table has been set. We will keep you updated as developments occur.
This week, the DOS released the November Visa Bulletin and the dates jumped once again for EB2 India and Chinese nationals but, remained painstakingly slow for all others. The National Foundation for American Policy recently released a study in which it calculated that the wait in the EB3 category had reached 70 years for Indian and Chinese nationals. Yes, that says 70 !
The DOS has released the October Visa Bulletin and it shows a 3 month jump for EB2 India and China but, the movement for EB3 was less than a month and the pace remains discouraging for employers and beneficiaries alike. Included in the Visa bulletin was the DOS’s look into its crystal ball and for the EB3 category, they are predicting movement of approximately 1 month each month for the foreseeable future. More troubling was the prediction that EB2 for India and China would either stagnate or even retrogress in the future. A political solution is needed to address this ever-worsening problem of retrogression.
The DOS released the September Visa Bulletin and the EB2 categories for India and PRC showed no forward movement whereas the EB3 categories for all countries once again showed slow but, steady movement forward. It is not uncommon for the final Visa Bulletin of the fiscal year to show some slow-down or even retrogression so there should not be too much read into the lack of movement in Sept. dates for EB2 categories.
The Department of State released the May visa bulletin and as promised, there was some forward movement in all categories including India EB2. Also included in the bulletin were predictions of future movement and an interesting (if you are an immigration attorney, an Indian national in the EB2 category or simply crazy about numbers) explanation on how the unused numbers from EB1 will trickle down to EB2, etc.