• June 2014 Visa Bulletin: Significant and Unexpected Retrogression for EB-3 China
  • May 13, 2014
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • According to the State Department’s June Visa Bulletin, the EB-3 category will retrogress significantly for China next month. The cut-off date for China EB-3 professionals and skilled workers will retrogress by six years, to October 1, 2006, while the EB-3 other worker category will retrogress nine years, to January 1, 2003.

    For most other countries, EB-3 will retrogress by 18 months, to April 1, 2011, but will advance by two weeks for India, to October 15, 2003, and by two months for the Philippines, to January 1, 2008.

    The EB-2 category will advance by five weeks for China, to May 22, 2009, but will remain unchanged for India, at November 15, 2004.

    What the China EB-3 Retrogression Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

    For the last several months, the State Department has advanced the EB-3 China priority date cut-off so that it has been far ahead of the cut-off date for EB-2 China. Many foreign nationals in the China EB-2 subcategory have sought new I-140 immigrant worker petitions in order to be reclassified to EB-3 and benefit from greater immigrant visa availability. The result has been a significant surge in demand for EB-3 China immigrant visa numbers, bringing the category close to exhausting its annual quota. Agency officials do not expect EB-3 China to move forward again until the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1.

    The severity of next month’s retrogression is unexpected. Though the State Department suggested that retrogression was possible, agency officials had until now indicated that the China EB-3 cut-off date was likely to remain ahead of EB-2 for the foreseeable future. That prediction has not been borne out.

    Employers and foreign nationals affected by next month’s EB-3 China retrogression should contact their designated Fragomen professional to discuss options, including the possibility of reverting to a previously filed EB-2 petition.

    June 2014 Priority Date Cut-Offs

    In June 2014, EB immigrant visa priority date cut-offs will be:

    Current for all countries.

    China: May 22, 2009
    India: November 15, 2004
    All other countries: Current

    EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers
    China: October 1, 2006
    India: October 15, 2003
    Philippines: January 1, 2008
    All other countries: April 1, 2011

    EB-3 Other Workers
    China: January 1, 2003
    India: October 15, 2003
    Philippines: January 1, 2008
    All other countries: April 1, 2011

    Current for all countries and subcategories.