June 2016 Visa Bulletin – EB2 and EB3 retrogression

The Visa Bulletin for June 2016 was released May 6, with significant backward movement to the “final action” cut-off dates for the China and India Employment Based Second and Third Preference categories (EB-2 and EB-3). USCIS usually adopts the Visa Bulletin’s “Final Action” dates in establishing each month’s priority date cut-off for filing of adjustment of status (green card) applications by beneficiaries of permanent employment petitions.

The Affected Categories

EB-2 India availability moved back over four years, to October 1 2004, the earliest it has been for some time. The State Department indicated that this category is “expected to advance slowly” between now and October. More positively, the EB-3 India category advanced modestly, moving forward 21 days to September 22, 2004.

EB-2 China availability moved back almost three years to January 1, 2010, the earliest it too has been for some time. Similarly, EB-3 for China moved back to January 1, 2010, over three and a half years earlier than the cut-off in May. The State Department indicated that “extremely high levels of demand” necessitated the retrogression and that neither of these categories for China “is expected to advance” prior to October 1, 2016, the start of Federal fiscal year 2017.

The Future for Employment Categories

A new allotment of visas will become available in October, with the new Federal fiscal year. When those visas are released, the State Department plans to return all regressed categories to the cut-off dates listed in the May 2016 Visa Bulletin as “quickly as possible.”

Advances in the Family Categories

Nearly all family-based categories moved forward. The two notable exceptions are for fourth preference category cases (F-4, brothers and sisters of adult US Citizens) charged to India or China. For India, the category moved back about two and a half years, to January 1, 2001. According to the State Department, this number is “not expected to advance prior to the end of the fiscal year.” For China, the category moved back about six months to January 1, 2003. The State Department indicated “it is not possible to predict whether this date will advance prior to the end of the fiscal year.”

We will provide updates as new information becomes available in the coming months.

If you have any questions about how these changes impact your situation, please contact us.