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Family Numbers Advance In The December 2006 Visa Bulletin

by Cyrus D. Mehta

The Department of State (DOS) released its visa bulletin for December 2006 reflecting the latest movement in the Family-Based and Employment-Based visa preferences, as well as other interesting developments.

The Family-Based visa numbers have advanced rapidly between November 2006 and December 2006. For instance, the Family-Based Second Preference (2A), spouses and minor children of permanent residents, moved six months from September 1, 2001 to March 1, 2002 for the world-wide category, including China and India. The Family Second Preference (2B), adult children of permanent residents, moved in one month from February 1, 1997 to March 8, 1997 for the world-wide category, including China and India. There was not much significant movement in the Family-Based Third preference, adult children (married or unmarried) of US citizens. The Family-Based Fourth Preference, siblings of US citizens, moved by a few weeks for all of the countries.

With respect to the Employment-Based Preferences, the Employment-Based Second Preference (EB-2) for China and India moved only by a few days. China moved from April 15, 2005 to April 22, 2005. India moved from January 1, 2003 to January 8, 2003. This do not bode too well for China and India in the EB-2 preference, given the large numbers of labor certification application being approved for people from both these countries in the Department of Labor’s backlog elimination centers.

There was also no significant movement in the Employment-Based Third Preference (EB-3), which is the most problematic category. The worldwide category, including China and the Philippines, moved marginally from July 1, 2002 to August 1, 2002. India remains static at April 22, 2001. Mexico also remained the same at May 8, 2001. Unfortunately, India still remains stuck in the “Section 245(i) Bubble” when thousands filed before the expiration of Section 245(i) on April 30, 2001.

The “Other Worker” or “Unskilled” Employment-Based Third Preference category moved From May 1, 2001 to October 1, 2001. In a significant development, the DOS announced that the Schedule A Worker Category has become unavailable in December 2006. The Schedule A category was introduced by the Real ID Act of 2005, which carved out 50,000 immigrant visa numbers for nurses, physical therapists and persons of exceptional ability in the sciences and arts.

The DOS also announced the cut off date for the new translator category (for Iraq and Afghan nationals working directly with the US armed forces). Only 50 visas are available each year in this category; and therefore, the DOS announced a cut off date of September 18, 2006 for this extremely limited category.

This article originally appeared on on November 17, 2006.

About The Author

Cyrus D. Mehta, a graduate of Cambridge University and Columbia Law School, practices immigration law in New York City and is the managing member of Cyrus D. Mehta & Associates, P.L.L.C. He is the Past Chair of the Board of Trustees of the American Immigration Law Foundation and recipient of the 1997 Joseph Minsky Young Lawyers Award. He is also Secretary of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and former Chair of the Committee on Immigration and Nationality Law of the same Association. He frequently lectures on various immigration subjects at legal seminars, workshops and universities and may be contacted in New York at 212-425-0555.

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