September Visa Bulletin and What Lies Ahead for Fiscal Year 2017
The U.S. Department of State (DOS) issues a monthly visa bulletin summarizing the availability of immigrant visa numbers. The DOS has now issued the September 2016 Visa Bulletin. This is the final visa bulletin for fiscal year 2016, and the new FY will begin October 1st.
CURRENT EMPLOYMENT BASED VISA BULLETIN. MONTH OF SEPTEMBER 2016.
EMPLOYMENT BASED: COMPARING AUGUST 2016 VISA BULLETIN TO SEPTEMBER 2016 VISA BULLETIN
First Preference, EB1. Cutoff date of 1/1/2010 for India and China remain the same.
Second Preference, EB2. India has advanced by a few months but continues to be retrogressed. Cutoff date of 2/1/2014 remain in place for the all chargeability areas plus El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. The cutoff date of 01/01/2010 for China remains unchanged.
Third Preference, EB3. China remains the same. The rest of the cutoff dates have moved forward.
Other Workers, Third Preference, EB3. China remains the same. The rest of the cutoff dates have moved forward.
Fourth Preference, EB4. All have remained the same.
Fifth Preference, EB5. All have remained the same.
CURRENT FAMILY BASED VISA BULLETIN. MONTH OF SEPTEMBER 2016.
FAMILY BASED: COMPARING AUGUST 2016 VISA BULLETIN TO SEPTEMBER 2016 VISA BULLETIN
F1. Cutoff dates have moved forward by a few months. Mexico only moved forward by a couple of weeks.
F2A. Have remained unchanged for all categories.
F2B. Cut off dates for China, India and worldwide have jumped to 2/1/2010 .
F3. China, India and all chargeability areas remain unchanged. Mexico jumped ahead by a few weeks and the Philippines by a few months.
F4. China and India remained unchanged. All chargeability areas jumped ahead by a few weeks, while the Philippines jumped ahead by a month. Mexico also jumped ahead, but by a few days.
INSIGHTS AND PREDICTIONS FROM CHIEF OF VISA CONTROL AND REPORTING-DOS, CHARLIE OPPENHEIM
Please note these are only short-term predictions. “Charlie must make assumptions regarding upcoming demand based on the available data and his prior experience in an effort to stabilize Final Action Date movements. Charlie prefers to advance the Final Action Dates conservatively in the hope of avoiding a retrogression later in the fiscal year, especially in categories that are subject to upgrades and downgrades. Unfortunately the need to generate sufficient demand to use all numbers available under the annual limits often requires aggressive forward movement of the dates.”
As noted in AILA’s DOS Liaison Committee’s monthly report, the following is a summary of a check-in with DOS’s Charlie Oppenheim (AILA Doc. No. 14071401 | Dated July 26, 2016):
- “Charlie projected possible Final Action Date movement for September.
- EB4. Though EB-4 Mexico and EB-4 India will become current again in October, the prospects for a full recovery for EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are much less likely. A 2015 cut-off date will likely be established in these categories for October, with date(s) moving forward slowly through the next fiscal year. However, uncertainty surrounding the movement of the EB-4 Final Action dates for these Central American countries remains, given the lack of visibility into the number of adjustment of status filings that were received in April 2015, prior to the establishment of the cut-off date in May.
- Family-Based Projections. Charlie expects a full recovery from retrogressions in all of the family-based categories in October, with the exception of F-4 China and F-4 India which will take some time. Beginning in November 2016, beneficiaries of F-4 China and F-4 India started responding to NVC Agent of Choice letters in larger numbers, which has given Charlie better visibility into the demand in these categories, but ultimately resulted in the retrogression of these cut-off dates.
- F-4 China, which previously shared the F-4 Worldwide Final Action date until retrogressing in June (AILA Doc. No. 16050607) to January 1, 2003, while this category will not advance in September, there should be a full recovery to the prior Final Action date of July 22, 2003 by November.
- Similarly, F-4 India also shared the F-4 Worldwide Final Action date until it retrogressed in June. Charlie continues to predict that the Final Action date for F-4 India will remain at January 1, 2001 through September. A full recovery of this category to the Worldwide level will not happen in October. Given the high level of demand, the Final Action date should advance to around November 2002 in October, with a full recovery unlikely to happen prior to June 2017.
- Charlie will be watching the F-2A and F-3 preference categories very carefully. Both categories are likely to retrogress temporarily in September, and then return to their respective August 2015 Final Action dates in October.
- EB Preference Categories. EB-2 India will continue to track one week ahead of the EB-3 India Final Action date in September. EB-3 Worldwide has been hovering close to “current” for some time, and is expected to do so through at least October.
- October Final Action dates for the EB-5 Regional Center categories remain uncertain as that category will sunset unless Congress acts prior to the end of the fiscal year.
- In setting cut-off dates for EB-1 China and EB-1 India, Charlie hoped to avoid having to establish a cut-off date for EB-1 Worldwide. Charlie expects that EB-1 China and EB-1 India will become current again in October, or November at the latest.”