The Department of State recently issued the November 2014 edition of its Visa Bulletin, a publication that is highly anticipated by would-be immigrants around the world, particularly those who seek employment-based visas. For EB-2 visa applicants born in India, the November 2014 Visa Bulletin did not bring about good news.
Employment-based visas granted by the United States are classified by preferential categories. For example, the EB-1 visa indicates a priority in processing for immediate entry. The EB-1 visa is typically granted to foreign workers of extraordinary ability, and it provides applicants with a reasonable path to establishing legal residence. An example of an EB-1 applicant would be a medical researcher whose work towards eradication of the Ebola virus has been widely recognized by his or her peers.
The second employment-based priority visa, the EB-2, can also grant permanent legal residence to applicants who hold advanced academic degrees and who can prove exceptional ability in their chosen professional fields. The range of employment-based visa categories granted by the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) extends through EB-5.
It is important to note that EB-2 visa applications take second preference to EB-1 visas, which means that they are subject to retrogression or advancement based on certain factors such as demand and availability. The two countries with significant numbers of EB-2 applicants are India and China. The November Visa Bulletin announced an advancement for the latter nation and a retrogression for the former.
What happens in a visa retrogression is that the application cutoff dates are moved back in time to accommodate the number of applicants. In the case of EB-2 visa applicants from India, the most recent retrogression set the cutoff date back to February 15, 2005. This retrogression is an adjustment that indicates a surplus of applicants in comparison to the quota set by the USCIS for visas in that particular category.
As a result of the retrogression, EB-2 applicants from India will likely have to wait longer for their visas to be approved. This may change in the future if the quota increases or if many applicants decide to withdraw their petitions over the next few months.
For more information about EB-1 and 2 visas or the recent India retrogression process, reach out to Kazmi and Sakata, the immigration lawyers San Diego residents trust. We also offer free consultations where our experienced and professional immigration lawyers can assess your case and help through the necessary steps for filing visa applications, petitions and more. Call us today at 858-874-0711 for more information.