According to Charles Oppenheim’s visa bulletin predictions, U.S. Department of State Chief of Visa Control and Reporting Division, priority date movement will advance much more quickly in the beginning of 2015. This is due primarily to President Obama’s Immigration Accountability Executive Action Plan, which is expected to tie up significant USCIS resources later in the year. This is good news for EB-2 and EB-3 China as well as EB-2 India.
EB China “Downgrades” Expected
Mr. Oppenheim predicts that many EB-2 China petitioners will “downgrade” to EB-3 China, which is more than 17 months ahead of EB-2 China as of the February 2015 Visa Bulletin. A petition downgrade occurs when a beneficiary files a petition in a lower preference category based qualification in the higher preference category. In this case, a Chinese beneficiary with Master’s Degrees would down grade to the skilled labor EB-3 category, which generally requires a Bachelor’s Degree or an equivalent amount of experience. Thus, Chinese beneficiaries who are now in EB-2 would downgrade to EB-3 category because their priority date is current in the lower category. It is important to note that there is no penalty for downgrading and no prohibition for filing petitions in multiple categories.
The result will be a 3-6 week advancement in EB-2 China and a more dramatic change in EB-3 China. EB-3 China could even advance into 2012. While advancement is expected to be significant, it is unlikely that EB-3 China will catch up with the worldwide cutoff like it did in 2014.
EB-2 India Can Expect Significant Advances Early in 2015
EB-2 India has been a proverbially pinball in recent years. In FY 2013 saw it advance to June 2008, only to be knocked back to 2004. Again in FY 2014, it advanced to May 2009 before retrogressing to 2005. In FY 2015, Mr. Oppenheim predicts advancement 4-6 months at a minimum in early 2015 and should continue through May 2015. Priority date movement beyond the summer of 2009 is doubtful, given the number of EB-India applicants who upgraded to EB-2 India in previous years.
EB-5 China Can Still Expect a Cut-Off Date
EB-5 China can expect retrogression by summer 2015, and could see a cut-off date as early as June or July of 2013.