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EB-2 Numbers Predicted to Advance Up to Six Months in March

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EB-2 Numbers Predicted to Advance Up to Six Months in March

January 23, 2012

On January 19, 2012, AILA liaison representatives met with Charlie Oppenheim, Chief, Visa Control Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State's Visa Office. Pinpointing several contributing factors in the slow demand for numbers so far for FY 2012, which started on October 1, the number crunching expert Mr. Oppenheim predicted further advancement in EB-2 numbers for March, and then a slowdown in advancement until this summer. While we are happy to once again receive good news on certain visa numbers, we continue to advocate for Congressional leadership in enabling U.S. employers to attract and retain the best and the brightest – the two to 8+ year current waiting time for certain foreign nationals is untenable.

WSM has identified individuals who may benefit from this likely movement in visa numbers. We are reaching out to our HR clients and their employees to prepare for next steps in the long journey to permanent residence.

Highlights of Mr. Oppenheim's analysis and predictions:

• Expect advancement of a few months in EB-2 employment-based priority dates, perhaps up to six months but don't expect leap-frog movements of one year that occurred the last two months.
• After March, expect little movement until the summer, when Mr. Oppenheim will be able to conduct further analysis.
• About 34% of the total number of permanent visas have been used this year, and 45% should be used by end of February.
• There was less demand than usual for dependent family members (note: visas issued to dependent family members are counted against the yearly cap).
• USCIS has agreed to the priority date jumps so far – if numbers get used up, it will have been a bad gamble.
• Will need to see what happens with visa usage in 2012 – unused visas in the EB-1 category means better luck for those faced with visa retrogression as those numbers roll down to EB-2.
• The Visa Office and USCIS are fully aware of many employers upgrading visa sponsorship to the EB-2 level, when those employees were previously sponsored under the EB-3 category – this in fact caused a slowdown in processing in 2011.
• Mr. Oppenheim has not been able to crunch numbers for the AOS cases now pending from those massive 2007 filings – these cases will have an impact, of course, on the final permanent numbers available for the rest of the year.

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