Sept. 2009 Employment Based Visa Bulletin
The Department of State has just released the new visa bulletin for September 2009 on August 11, 2009.
After the release of the August visa bulletin last month, we predicted that the cut-off date for Indian and Chinese nationals applying under the EB-2 category would jump forward, possibly even reaching 2005 or 2006 at the beginning of the new fiscal year. We also predicted that for the month of September, the EB-1 category would become unavailable.
As predicted for the month of September, the cut-off dates moved forward from October 1, 2003 to January 8, 2005 for both mainland Chinese and Indian nationals applying in the EB-2 category. Contrary to what we predicted, the EB-1 category is still current. The EB-3 category remains unavailable for this month.
Based on previous visa bulletins posted in fiscal year 2009, there has been considerable variation in cut-off dates for all three employment-based categories, as was the case for this month. In some months, the EB-2 category, which seems to be the most heavily backlogged, has been as current as February 15, 2005 for mainland Chinese nationals and as current as February 15, 2004 for Indian born nationals, so the most recent move to January 8, 2005 is rather substantial.
Therefore, it is important to bear in mind the difficulty in predicting cut-off dates for employment-based categories. From one month to the next, substantial, and often, unpredictable changes can occur in visa numbers, particularly at the end of a fiscal year. These numbers all depend on remaining quotas for nationals from source countries. Usually, this variation only applies to those from China and India. Most other countries typically remain current, if not, they become current very quickly.
On October 1, 2009, each source country’s allotted 9,800 visa numbers for employment based categories including EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-4, and EB-5 will be reset by the Department of State. Even with the newly available numbers, this does not necessarily guarantee an improvement in visa backlogs; although, this is usually the case.
Hopefully, the October bulletin for this year will not reflect visa backlogs. And even if it does, the most pertinent advice we can offer is to still submit an application under one of the employment based categories (EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3), depending on your specific case and circumstance. With updated visa numbers every month, the best way to determine the appropriate category to apply under is to consult a legal professional.
As mentioned in our breakdown of the August visa bulletin, the EB-1 category, which encompasses EB-1(a), Alien of Extraordinary Ability and EB-1(b), Outstanding Researcher or Professor, usually remains current for a majority of the fiscal year, as it did for FY-2009. We believe that this will be no different for FY-2010 either. Given this, if an applicant qualifies, it will greatly benefit him or her to apply under this category. If an applicant has not yet met the strict qualifications for the EB-1 category, submitting a petition under an EB-2 will ensure an applicant’s place in line, while giving him or her more time to meet the necessary qualifications for the EB-1 category.
However, in the event that both EB-1 and EB-2 categories are unavailable in the future, petitioners should remember that this will only be temporary. If this does happen, we encourage you to still work on an application for when numbers do become available. Luckily, the new fiscal year is right around the corner, which not only means that new numbers will more than likely be available, but that there is a possibility of a jump in cut-off dates.
Here at Zhang and Associates, P.C, we understand that the visa application process is both time consuming and frustrating. While we cannot control visa availability numbers, we can ensure that your application receives the utmost attention and reflects your most noteworthy accomplishments, maximizing your chance of obtaining status as a permanent resident in the United States.
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