The State Department has announced the unavailability of EB-2 visa numbers for the balance of fiscal year 2012 for applicants from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and from India. The prior EB-2 cut off date had been August 15, 2007 for applicants from each of those 2 countries.
Visa unavailability represents a complete exhaustion of visa numbers for the affected countries in the EB-2 category for the current fiscal year. According to the Department of State, there has been high demand for numbers by applicants with priority dates earlier than the August 15, 2007. The Department explained that the demand is primarily based on cases which had originally been filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) for adjustment of status in the EB-3 category, and are now eligible to be upgraded to EB-2 status. It opined that the potential amount of “upgrade” demand is not currently being reported. Many applicants worldwide in the EB-3 category desire to alleviate their frustration with visa availability delays. Current EB-3 visa wait times can exceed a decade and by obtaining a new labor certification and an approved EB-2 visa petition based on a job offer that requires a masters degree or its equivalent, the applicant can reduce his or her wait by several years.
According to the Department, it was evident that the continued availability of EB-2 numbers for countries other than PRC and India was being jeopardized for the balance of fiscal year 2012 by such high demand, and Department took the necessary step of making the EB-2 numbers for PRC and India “Unavailable” in early April, 2012 for the remainder of FY-2012.
With the start of fiscal year 2013 in October, 2012, EB-2 visa numbers will again be available for PRC and India within the new fiscal year’s annual numerical limitations. The Department reports that it will try to return EB-2 availability for PRC and India to a cut-off date of May 1, 2010, a date which had been reached in April, 2012.
The Department also reports that based on the current rate of demand, it may be need establish an EB-2 cut-off date for all countries other than PRC and India.
Finally, as a measure of the strength of demand in the EB-1 Priority Worker category, the Department advises that in the next few months, EB-1s, presently current worldwide, may also face a cut-off date to limit use within the annual, statutory EB-1 visa allotment.
Stewart Rabinowitz is President of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. Mr. Rabinowitz is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. To contact a Dallas immigration lawyer or Dallas immigration attorney visit Rabinowitzrabinowitz.com