Check-in with DOS’s Charlie Oppenheim Regarding the December 2018 Visa Bulletin

Family-Based Preference Categories

All of the family-based Final Action Dates advance in December with the exception of FB-1 Mexico, FB-2B Mexico, FB-3 Mexico, and FB-4 Mexico, which will hold at their November Final Action Dates.

Employment-Based Preference Categories

EB-1. As predicted last month, in December all of the EB-1 Final Action Dates advance three months, with EB-1 Worldwide, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico, Philippines and Vietnam advancing to July 1, 2017. The Final Action Dates for EB-1 China and EB-1 India advance to September 1, 2016.

If the Dates for Filing are any indication, members might see the Final Action Dates for EB-1 Worldwide, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Mexico, Philippines and Vietnam reach June 1, 2018 within the next eight to twelve months. Similarly, the Final Action Dates for EB-1 China and EB-1 India are predicted to reach October 1, 2017 within the next eight to twelve months.

Charlie expects that the Final Action Dates for all EB-1 categories will continue to advance. It is difficult, however, for Charlie to predict at this time how rapidly they might advance, but he hopes to have more information in December. Data provided in the USCIS National Benefits Center reports are guiding his decisions on this and other employment-based categories.

It is pure coincidence that EB-1 Worldwide (including El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Philippines and Vietnam) advance at the same pace as EB-1 China and EB-1 India in December. These categories could advance at a faster pace than EB-1 China and EB-1 India at some point over the next few months.

EB-2 and EB-3 China. Massive EB-3 China demand—far in excess of the targeted amount–materialized in October, whereas EB-2 China demand fell short, resulting in the Final Action Date for EB-2 China leaping ahead one and a half months to July 1, 2015, ahead of EB-3 China, which advanced only one week to June 8, 2015. This is likely to discourage EB-3 downgrades, but watch this closely as there is always a possibility that these categories will flip again, depending on demand.

EB-2 and EB-3 India. The Final Action Date for EB-2 India advances only one week in December to April 1, 2009, while the Final Action Date for EB-3 India leaps forward two months to March 1, 2009, putting these categories within only one month of one another. If EB-3 to EB-2 upgrades continue, this will further impact the ability of EB-2 India to advance. It is likely that members will see the Final Action Date for EB-3 India surpass EB-2 India within the next few months, creating the same scenario we have seen with China over the past few years.

EB-3 and Other Workers Philippines. In December, EB-3 and Other Workers Philippines again advance one week to June 15, 2017. Members should continue to expect only minimal movement in this category during the first half of the fiscal year due to concerns that sharp advancement could trigger huge demand which would result in retrogression.

EB-4. The Final Action Date for EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras which has recently been in a holding pattern, advances one week in December to February 22, 2016. Members should expect this category to hold for a month or so followed by possible intermittent modest advancement.

EB-4 Mexico is current for filing and its Final Action Date advances five weeks to January 1, 2017 in December. If demand trends for this category continue, members may see continued forward movement. Despite the comparative lower demand in this category, Charlie still expects EB-4 Mexico to reach its per country limit at some point this fiscal year (possibly May), at which time it will track to the Final Action Date of EB-4 El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

EB-5. In December, the Final Action Date for EB-5 China advances one week, while EB-5 Vietnam advances three months.

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