It is important to remember that the U.S. government operates on a fiscal year that begins on October 1 and ends on September 30 each year. For this reason, new visa numbers are released in October 1 for a particular fiscal year. This also means that on September 30, few visa numbers remain for that fiscal year. This brings us to the approximately 7 years of regression for EB-2 China and 2 years for EB-2 India reflected in the September 2015 Visa Bulletin.
There are several factors that caused retrogression in these categories, with no one being decisive. First, more aggressive cut-off date movement for some preference categories was implemented early in the year. As a consequence, there were fewer visa numbers available in the fourth quarter of the year; however, it is likely that all available visa numbers will be used within the fiscal year. So the positive of total visa number usage far outweighs the negative of potential regression for some categories at the end of the year.
Another reason for retrogression in the EB-2 categories was due to significant increases in demand for the EB-2 Worldwide category. The availability of visa numbers for India and China is intricately linked to Worldwide demand. Early in the year, Worldwide demand held at about 2,400 per month, but in June it shot up to 6,700 and in July to 4,400. The result is that fewer numbers were unused in the Worldwide category, which made fewer numbers available to India and China. A similar phenomena occurred with the use of EB-1 numbers that also typically fall down to other categories as unused.
The most important thing to note about retrogression for EB-2 India and China is that we are about to begin a new fiscal year on October 1. What this means is that new visa numbers will become available. Therefore, we are likely to see significant advancement in these two categories in the October Visa Bulletin. The degree of advancement is difficult to predict, but it is safe to say that there is no reason to panic. I anticipate that things will normalize within the first quarter of FY2016.