January 18, 2006
Over the past two months, significant forward movement in priority dates, which controls when a foreign national may apply for status as a permanent resident, has taken place.
The just released February Visa Bulletin shows that the often-watched priority date (PD) for India-born individuals in the EB-2 category went from 07/01/00 to 08/01/01, in the past two months, while the EB-3 category PD went from 01/01/99 to 01/01/00. The EB-1 category for Indian-born nationals advanced from 02/01/03 to 02/01/04.
For foreign nationals born in China, the EB-1 PD went from 07/01/01 to 01/01/03 during the past two months. The EB-2 PD went from 02/01/01 to 04/01/02 during the same period, while the EB-3 PD advanced much more slowly, changing from 01/01/01 to 04/22/01.
The Department of State, which issues the monthly visa bulletins, commented that the movement of employment cut-off dates during the past several months has been greater than anticipated as a result of low visa usage by USCIS (i.e., lower number of I-485 approvals being issued by USCIS during the past few months). Although it is not possible to speculate how soon USCIS usage of visa numbers will pick-up, it is likely that forward movements will slow or stop as the year progresses.