Charlie Oppenheim, Chief, Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State, informed previously of a dramatic reduction in the use of EB-1 numbers.
“[US]CIS says they have seen a decline in filings, and does not expect a change in the number use pattern. Therefore, this decline in EB-1 number use will allow me to begin having those ‘otherwise unused’ numbers drop down and be available for use in the EB-2 category. Based on current indications, that would mean that at least 12,000 additional numbers will be available to the EB-2 category. This situation will allow me to advance the India EB-2 cut-off date for May. The reason being that all ‘otherwise unused’ numbers are provided strictly in priority date order, and the India demand has the largest concentration of early dates.”
According to Mr. Oppenheim, the fall-off in demand for EB-1 numbers began in October 2010.
Charlie Oppenheim discussed scenarios for EB-2 movement in the coming months. In preparation of the May 2011 Visa Bulletin, DOS will consider the approximately 12,000 unused EB-1 numbers that will “spill-down” to EB-2, EB-2 demand and possible unused numbers, and will consult with USCIS on its processing potential. A quick look by DOS at this point indicates that there is the possibility for greater advancement of the India EB-2 category than had earlier been thought.
Doing so will give DOS better visibility into EB-3 upgrade demand in the pipeline, and will better ensure that all visas allowed annually are used. However, a rapid advance could spur a surge in demand that could impact the cut-off dates later in the year. The May Visa Bulletin, generally issued mid-April, will contain a discussion of visa availability projections for the remainder of the year.
We will keep you posted with more information.