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Carl Shusterman's Immigration Update

September 2011 Visa Bulletin: Dead on Arrival

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For immigrants seeking green cards, September is the cruelest month. This is because it is the final month of the federal fiscal year and most of the 226,000 family-based and the 140,000 employment-based green card numbers have already been used up. By the time that September rolls around, the "patient" is practically dead on arrival.

There is no forward movement in 3 of the 5 family-based worldwide preference categories: the 1st (unmarried adults sons and daughters of U.S. citizens), the 2B (unmarried adult sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents) and 3rd (married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens). The worldwide 4th preference category (brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens) inches forward a single week, while the 2A category (spouses and children of lawful permanent residents moves forward over 4 months.

The news is better for persons born in the most severely backlogged countries, Mexico and the Philippines. All of the Mexican family-based preference categories show forward movement, ranging from one week in the 3rd category to almost 4 months in the 2A category. The story for Filipinos is even better with advances ranging from 6 weeks in the 3rd category to over 6 months in the 1st category.

See the chart below:


Categories Worldwide China (PRC) Mexico Philippines
1st 5-01-04 5-01-04 3-15-93 11-01-96
2A 12-01-08 12-01-08 9-22-08 12-01-08
2B 7-01-03 7-01-03 10-01-92 12-01-00
3rd 8-22-01 8-22-01 11-22-92 5-15-92
4th 4-15-00 4-15-00 3-22-96 7-08-88

Among the worldwide employment-based categories, worldwide 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th remain current (no backlogs), while the 3rd category for professionals and skilled workers advances 3 weeks compared to a 3 month advance for unskilled workers.

India and China EB-2 (professionals with advance degrees) fails to advance a single day while China EB-3 moves forward 2 weeks compared to 5 weeks for India EB-3.

See the chart below:


Categories Worldwide China (PRC) India Mexico Philippines
1st Current Current Current Current Current
2nd Current 4-15-07 4-15-07 Current Current
3rd 11-22-05 7-15-04 7-08-02 11-22-05 11-22-05
Unskilled 8-01-05 4-22-03 6-01-02 8-01-05 8-01-05
4th Current Current Current Current Current
Religious Current Current Current Current Current
5th Current Current Current Current Current

The September Visa Bulletin also contains the numerical results of the DV-2012 visa lottery. Almost 15 million people registered for the lottery, over 19 million if you count derivatives. Of this total, most the "winners" were from Africa with Nigerians topping the list at 6,024; Europe led by Ukrainians at 5,799; Asia where 4,453 persons born in Iran were selected; South America with 925 Venezuelans; Oceania led by 900 Australians and the only eligible country in North America, the Bahamas with 15 winners.

However, it is important to remember that the maximum numbers of green cards which can be granted to persons chargeable to a single country is 3,500 in a fiscal year, and that out of 100,000 "winners" of the visa lottery, only 50,000 can actually be granted permanent residence.

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  1. Backlogged's Avatar
    The advancement of the cutoff dates in the visa bulletin for the entire year has been at a snail pace. Add to it the non transparency on the usage statistics or demand data for family based petitions from DoS, at best the cutoff date is a guesstimate. No one knows or can question the authenticity of the so called renewed demand (especially in F2A given 2010 CIS Ombudsman report on low demand in 2009/2010) that warranted retrogression and snail pace movement from Jan 2011. With no V visa, no legislation/reform no transparency and wastage of visas or spillover to other categories like F4 when F2A is retrogressed is outrageous. Yet neither DoS, USCIS or Ombudsman does anything to streamline the existing anemic system.
  2. Visa Iran's Avatar
    I wanted to say thanks to you for this great read!! I've you saved as a favorite to see fresh stuff you post.
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