Visa Bulletin Predictions for February 2018 and Forward

Every month after the release of the monthly visa bulletin, DOS Visa Office Chief Mr. Charlie Oppenheim would provide his insights on the trends, movements, predictions, etc., regarding the usage of immigrant visa numbers.  The following are his most important insights following the publication of the February 2018 Visa Bulletin:  

Overview of the February 2018 Visa Bulletin:
Predictions for upcoming months are generally positive with forward movement predicted in most categories except EB-5 China-Mainland. EB-5 Vietnam will have a final action cutoff date no later than April.
Predictions regarding Employment-Based I-485s:
Charlie predicts that the new USCIS policy requiring interviews of employment-based I-485 adjustment will result in increased volatility in final action date movement in the employment-based categories.  Generally, there will be advancements in the Employment categories in the beginning, only to be followed by slower movement or retrogression in some categories.  Because visa numbers will be used by different district offices, data gathering will be challenging.  It will take time for the new policy to set in. For now, Charlie is trying advance cutoff dates to use up all available visa numbers without overdoing it to avoid visa retrogression. 
EB-4 and EB-5:
EB-4 Religious Workers and EB-5 Regional Center Categories have become "unavailable" pending 
Congressional re-authorization.  The EB-5 (Non-Regional Center) category will remain current in the coming months except for EB-5 China, which will experience little if any forward movement. 
EB-1 India and EB-1 China:
The imposition of a final action date for EB-1 China and EB-1 India in late FY 2017 created a backlog of cases in the first quarter of FY 2018. So far, this fiscal year, EB-1 India and EB-1 China have already used 7,000 and 4,500 visa numbers, respectively. These categories will likely remain current for the coming months.  Cutoff final action dates could be imposed in the summer remains likely if heavy demand continues. This risk may be offset by the delay caused by the transition of I-485s applications to USCIS Field Offices for interviews.
EB-2 Worldwide:
This category should remain current for the foreseeable future.
EB-2 and EB-3 China:
EB-2 China will continue to advance two to three months every month.  EB-3 China is predicted to advance up to five months per Visa Bulletin.  
EB-2 India: 
Heavy demand continues for EB-2 India, which is predicted to move forward only up to two weeks per Visa Bulletin. 
EB-3 India: 
The February Visa Bulletin predicts forward movement in this category at a pace of one to three months. Charlie predicts that, when the final action date advances beyond August 2007, visibility will diminish. When this happens, there is "potential for rapid movement of the EB-3 India final action date to generate new demand."

EB-3 Philippines:
Demand is not very high, and rapid forward movement may become possible later on. Visa numbers are mostly used by overseas consulate offices for this category. 

Family-Based Categories:
FB-1 Worldwide will advance at the rate of one month per bulletin; FB-2A Worldwide three to five weeks; FB-3 Worldwide up to five weeks; and FB-4 worldwide up to three weeks.
FB-1 Philippines and FB-2B Philippines advance seven months and 21 days in February, respectively. Charlie attributes the recent volatility to the lack of visibility of rescheduled appointments made by applicants through the Department of State's Global Support System (GSS). Charlie is trying to obtain more accurate date from the post in Manila.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 14071401.


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