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EB-2 Visa Retrogression Predicted for Chinese and Indian Nationals as Early as May

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EB-2 Visa Retrogression Predicted for Chinese and Indian Nationals as Early as May

March 19, 2012

The experience of EB-2 Chinese and Indian nationals with visa retrogression over the past year brings to mind a rollercoaster ride at the amusement park — except devoid of any images of *fun*.  Having experienced huge leapfrogging forward of more than one year over the past year, and then a recent halt in the April Visa Bulletin, Chinese and Indian EB-2 nationals may now anticipate some backward movement this spring, as early as May or June.  

Charlie Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control Reporting Division in the U.S. Department of State’s Visa Office, has just followed up on his earlier 2012 warning for all to expect a slowdown in priority dates this spring.  A number-crunching expert, he is tasked with ensuring that the government does not give out more than 140,000 employment-based green cards each year, subject to per country limits.  As early as May 1 or June 1, Oppenheim anticipates having to retrogress Employment-Based Second Preference (EB-2) priority dates for Chinese and Indian nationals, he related March 16 at an American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) event. 

Even more jolting, Oppenheim said the retrogression he is anticipating may go as far back as 2007.  He said he likely will retrogress the EB-2 cutoff dates for India and China to approximately August 2007, effective with either the May or June 2012 Visa Bulletin.  Oppenheim also advised that no “extra” green cards will be available for the EB-2 category this year as spillover from EB-1, because he projects that all EB-1 visas available in FY2012 will be used this year.

We have advised all of our clients with EB-2 Chinese and Indian national employees who have current priority dates of May 1, 2010 to file their adjustment of status cases immediately.  The only good news is that individuals with pending adjustment of status cases may obtain separate work authorization for themselves and their dependents while the cases remain pending.  As always, we will keep our clients and their employees who are affected by retrogression updated with developments.

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