Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Grim Outlook for EB Visa Numbers

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 bills which address our broken legal immigration system from our "Immigration Legislation" page at


  1. Hello, could you please share your thoughts on Family Based categories? What does Mr. Oppenheim has to say about FB1 visa numbers, ROW?

  2. i am a registered nurse from India and have done all formalities for EB3 Visa and at the last stage of processing. MY visa is denied due to retrogression. Meanwhile i contacted a hospital in US and they informed me that they will apply for an H1 B visa for me immediately. I would like to your view that how possible i could get this visa. If everything goes well and i am called for embassey interview, is there possibility of denying my visa at the embassey interview. does it anyway affect my current eb3 visa aaplication

  3. Mr. Shusterman,
    I wonder when EB3-India with PD Jul2003 would see any daylight. What is the possibility for it to be approved in 2010. Please predict/guestimate.

  4. Hello,
    When do you think (ballpark figure) would we have light at the end of tunnel for Nov 2002 EB3 priority date ?

  5. I believe that the cap on eb5 visas should be raised. An increased number of people admitted through the eb5 visa program would increase the number of jobs that become available for US citizens. And of course, there's nothing the country needs more urgently right now than jobs.