Department of State Says Outlook is Grim for Immigrant Visas for China and India

The Department of State recently advised that the prognosis is "grim" for immigrant visa numbers for many visa categories, but particularly for employment-based immigrant workers from China and India.

Increases in visa issuance and demand in the religious worker (EB-4) and investor visa (EB-5) categories, as well as increased demand for immigrant visas from other countries, have resulted in less of a trickle-down in visa availability for the EB-1 (multinational executives and managers, aliens of extraordinary ability, and outstanding researchers), EB-2 (advanced degree professionals and aliens of extraordinary achievement, including national interest waivers) and EB-3 categories (professionals and skilled workers and "other workers"). As a result, there is a significant shortfall in visa availability for all employment-based immigrant visa categories now and for the foreseeable future.

The State Department has announced that the EB1 categories for India and China will be current during July 2009, but could require the establishment of a cut-off date in August or September should EB1 demand remain heavy.

In the EB-2 category, however, the prognosis is extremely poor for both India and China. For July 2009, the cut-off date is January 1, 2000, and the category may become unavailable in August or September 2009. For China, the July Visa Bulletin reports that the cut-off date is also January 1, 2000 and this category may also become unavailable in August or September 2009. Given increased demand in all immigrant visa categories, there is a serious concern that, without legislative relief, the waiting time for Indian and Chinese EB-2 applicants may be years or even decades. A copy of the July 2009 Visa Bulletin is available here.

In addition, the State Department has advised that EB-3 visas worldwide will be unavailable for the remainder of this fiscal year. The increased demand in this category appears to be due to the Department of Labor's clearance of backlogged labor certification cases. Based on current immigrant visa demand, it is anticipated that the priority dates in the EB-3 category for the new fiscal year (beginning October 1, 2009), could be China (March 1, 2003); India (November 1, 2001); and Mexico (March 1, 2003). However, the State Department cautions that "a lot could change" between now and the end of September.

Categories: Immigration Blog