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Carl Shusterman's Immigration Update

Grim Outlook for EB Visa Numbers

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Why do we punish people who play by the rules?

Charles Oppenheim, Guru of the Visa Office in the State Department, has confirmed what we warned employment-based (EB) immigrants about in our June 2009 newsletter.

Not only are EB-3 numbers unavailable for the rest of the fiscal year and EB-2 numbers for persons born in China and India oversubscribed, but the situation is going to get worse, much worse.

Mr. Oppenheim states that the EB-1, EB-4 and EB-5 categories are all experiencing greatly increased demand, so much so that the EB-4 category (religious workers and special immigrants) may retrogress this summer. This is very significant since unused visa numbers in these categories are typically given to those in the EB-2 and EB-3 categories. Without these extra numbers, the retrogression in the EB-2 and EB-3 categories will be that much worse.

How much worse, you ask?

Because the Labor Department has cleared its backlog of old cases, during the past year the USCIS processed many thousands of I-140 visa petitions with priority dates prior to 2005. Mr. Oppenheim states that because of this, the worldwide EB-3 cut-off date will be March 1, 2003 come October 1st. Things will be worse for those born in India where the EB-3 cut-off date will be November 1, 2001.

Expect EB-2 visa numbers for Indians to become unavailable either in August or September. What will happen to EB-2 India in the coming fiscal year? We wouldn't be surprised if the category retrogressed up to 10 years or more. Ditto for EB-2 China.

Just like the automakers, the immigration SUV is about to go over a cliff. With European countries and Canada making it easier for talented scientists, engineers, programmers and health care workers to immigrate, our restrictive immigration laws and policies are driving highly-educated immigrants away. We educate foreign students in our best universities, and then say "Happy Graduation, Now Go Home!" As a result of this short-sighted policy, our country's position as the world leader in science and technology is threatened.

Only if Congress acts to pass pending legislation like the Reuniting Families Act which would allow for the recapture of 400,000 lost visa numbers could disaster be averted.

We link to this bill and to a host of other pending legislation which addresses our broken legal immigration system from our "Immigration Legislation" page at

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Updated 12-02-2013 at 04:39 PM by CShusterman


  1. AD's Avatar

    Last year DOS moved the dates to Aug 06 for EB2 and CIS approved AOS petitions of applicants with PD's of 05 and 06 and left 03 and 04 folks. Its a shame that many EB-2 I 03 /04 folks are now suffering while many 05/06 got their green cards and moved away.

    While EB-4 over subscription is really bad, the only saving grace is that it doesnt take any thing left from EB-5 (if any). I have a feeling that EB-5 will still have atleast 2000-3000 visa numbers that will spill over into EB1 and if lucky, if no over subscription as a whole in EB1 will trickle down into EB2 India and China

    B T W, So much for Open government, why doesnt DOS publish the numbers used, numbers allocated along with every visa bulletin? When all numbers are current no one might care, but DOS/USCIS wants us to engage in this great prediction game and AILA does not care to ask. Why arent you or AILA asking to publish this information? Forget the nature of the backlog from USCIS, which asked 5000USD for a FOIA request to publish the pending AOS backlog sorted by category and birth.

    Shameful, Despicable and loathsome are the only things that come to mind when I think about this via bulletin game.
  2. Morchu's Avatar
    AILA should ask DOS to publish the exact basis on which they put the cutoffs. Broad terms like "high demand" are not acceptable.

    We need exact numbers published with each bulletin. How many visas used in each category, how many left?

    Also need more accurate explanation on the exact estimate provided by DOS. For example why Jan/2000 for EB2 India and why not Feb/2000.

    Currently, I have to assume that, DOS predictions have absolutely no basis. The predictions contradict from time to time. (think of July 2007/ August 2008/ June 2009 bulletins).

  3. SK's Avatar
    DOS we are engineers. We need numbers.
    Why EB1 is current even after predicting high usage. Why EB2/I retrogressed highly for the same reason ("high demand")

    Provide us the exact numbers, and the exact reasons for cut off dates.

  4. eb5 visa program's Avatar
    Very interesting how this is turning into a spiral downturn. Your quotation about "Happy Graduation, Now Go Home" really got to me. It is quite a shame how we are handling the situations at hand.
  5. eb5 visa program's Avatar
    The sad part really is how hard it is for talented foreigners with truly unique gifts and abilities to enter this country and begin contributing. How tragic is is that there are so many amazingly gifted people who wish to come here and exercise their talents, but our broken system won't allow it!?
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