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Visa Bulletin Analysis: November 2014

The visa bulletin for November 2014 has been released by the U.S. Department of State. Numerous changes occurred in the November bulletin; and as previously stated, the bulletin sees significant retrogression in the second employment-based preference (EB-2) category for foreign nationals from India.

EB-1, EB-4 and EB-5 categories remain unchanged.

The Employment Based First (EB-1), Fourth (EB-4) and Fifth (EB-5) categories remain current for the month of November 2014. The current status of the visa categories means that visa numbers are available for foreign national applicants for the EB-1, EB-4 and EB-5 categories. It is expected that these employment based categories shall remain current in the months to come.

EB-2 Developments

Chinese Nationals shall see forward movement of two weeks, with an advancement in the priority dates from November 15, 2009 to December 8, 2009.

Indian Nationals shall experience significant losses in priority dates, as the cut-off dates for Indian Nationals retrogressed from May 1, 2009 to February 15, 2005. The numbers for Indian nationals retrogressed by over 4 years in an attempt to keep visa usage within the annual limits (annual visa limits) of the 2015 fiscal year. This increased retrogression directly correlates to an increased demand for the EB-2 visa.

Continued EB-3 Advancements

In line with previous monthly advancements, the Employment Based Third preference category (EB-3) saw significant advancements when compared to all applicable employment visa categories. Specifically, Chinese Nationals saw an advancement in priority dates, from April 1, 2009 to January 1, 2010. In addition, Indian Nationals shall see minimal gains with an advancement in priority dates from November 15, 2003 to November 22, 2003 (7 days).

Continued gains in EB-3 advancements shall see an increase in applications from Foreign Nationals eligible for the Third Preference category and the benefits of rapid priority date advancements. However, as demonstrated by the retrogression for Indian Nationals in the EB-2 category, advancements in the EB-3 category will eventually stall, followed by retrogression (as a corrective measure to maintain visa usage within annual fiscal limits) in or around the beginning of the year 2015.

Conclusion

It is important that applicants for the Employment and Family Based Preference Categories consult with an immigration attorney prior to filing an application based on a specific preference category. As evidenced by the Visa Bulletin published by the Department of State, priority dates are constantly fluctuating and may see significant gains or significant losses. Gains and losses are dependent on a multitude of factors; including but not limited to annual visa limits for the current fiscal year (current: FY 2015).