The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for February 2015 been released. The big news for this visa bulletin is the six-month forward jump for the Employment-based Third Preference (EB-3), from June 1, 2013 in the January Visa Bulletin to January 1, 2014 in the February Visa Bulletin. This represents 18-months forward movement in cut-off dates for the “all chargeability areas” category in the past year. This means that, for citizens of countries other than China and India, long delays associated with employer-sponsored immigration for bachelor’s-level professionals, skilled workers and even low-skilled workers have been substantially eliminated. For employer-sponsored immigrants in the EB-3 category, this means that employers may be able to fill open positions with qualified immigrant labor within 12 to 18 months of filing.
For individuals from China with approved employer-sponsored Petitions, the news is also good, with a six-month advance in the EB-3 category to March 1, 2011 and a six-week advance in the EB-2 category to March 15, 2010. Paradoxically, due to higher demand for “advanced degree” professionals from China, the EB-2 category is more backed up than the EB-3 category, meaning that individuals with less education, working in positions requiring bachelors’ rather than masters’ degrees, are moving through the process faster.
The situation for Indian nationals remains grim, with the EB-3 category backed up to December 2003 and the EB-2 category backed up to September 2005. Congress and the President are aware of how counter-productive this situation is and the President’s Executive Action includes provisions which 1) increase job portability for individuals with approved I-140’s waiting for visa numbers and 2) study ways to more efficiently allocate visas. For more information about the President’s Executive Action, click here.
The family-based categories continue to show slow but steady forward progress, with the Family-based Second Preference, Part A, for spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents advancing to May 8, 2013 and the other categories advancing roughly one month in the past month. For more information on family-based immigration, click here.