Roll-back of EB-3 Visa Preference Possible This Fiscal Year

By Reuben S. Seguritan

October 22, 2014

The November 2014 Visa Bulletin shows that the cut-off date of the Philippine employment-based third preference (EB-3) for skilled workers, professionals and other workers will jump by eight months from October 1, 2011 to June 1, 2012. But a roll-back may occur later in the current fiscal year should demand for visa numbers by nurses and therapists with significantly earlier priority dates dramatically increase.

The EB-3 cut-off date for all other countries except China and India will also move forward by eight months, to June 1, 2012.

The employment-based second preference (EB-2) will remain current for all countries except China and India. China’s second preference cut-off date will move by three weeks to December 8, 2009 while India’s cut-off date will retrogress by more than four years, to February 15, 2005. All the other employment preferences will remain current for all countries.

Because of the retrogression, Indian nationals in the U.S. with EB-2 priority dates earlier than May 1, 2009 should file for adjustment before the end of October.

The family-based preferences (F-1 to F-4) will move slowly. The worldwide preference cut-off dates are as follows: F-1 (unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens) – June 8, 2007; F-2A(spouses and children of permanent residents) – March 1, 2013; F-2B (adult unmarried sons and daughters of permanent residents) – January 1, 2008; F-3 (married son and daughters of U.S citizens) – December 8, 2003 and F-4 (brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens) – February 8, 2002.

The Philippine cut-off dates are: F-1 – November 1, 2004; F-2A – March 1, 2013; F-2B – January 1, 2004; F-3 – June 8, 1993 and F-4 – May 1, 1991.

The Department of State’s (DOS) predictions on visa availability in the coming months were also published in the November 2014 Visa Bulletin.

The DOS predicts that the EB-3 cut-off date worldwide including the Philippines will continue its rapid forward movement for the next several months.

China’s EB-3 cut-off date is also expected to rapidly move forward. The DOS predicts that such movement is likely to result in increased demand and may require “corrective” actions possibly as early as February 2015.

Meanwhile, little, if any movement at all, is expected for India’s EB-3 cut-off date. Mexico’s EB-3 cut-off date, on the other hand, is expected to remain at the worldwide date.

With the rapid advance of the worldwide EB-3 cut-off date, a significant increase in the demand for immigrant visa numbers is expected under this category. Once the demand increases at a greater rate, it will impact the cut-off date situation.

The EB-2 cut-off date is expected to remain current for all countries except China and India. China’s EB-2 cut-off date is expected to advance only by three to five week over the next several months while no forward movement is expected for India’s EB-3 cut-off date.

The EB-5 for investors is current for China but a cut-off date may be established as early as May 2015.

All the other employment preferences are expected to remain current for all countries.

The cut-off dates for family-based preference categories are expected to move slowly in the coming months. The worldwide preference cut-off dates for F-1 is expected to move by two to three weeks; F-2A by three to five weeks; F-2B by six to eight weeks; F-3 by one to three weeks and F4- by two or four weeks.

The DOS explained that the projections for the Family and Employment categories indicate what is likely to happen during each of the next three months based on current applicant demand patterns.