The October 2008 Visa Bulletin, that originally was posted by the US Consulate – Mumbai, has been confirmed as accurate and has been posted on the Department of State’s site. The dates for most major categories are:
EB2: Most countries (Current); India (April 1, 2003); China (April 1, 2004).
EB3: Most countries (Jan 1, 2005); India (July 1, 2001); China (Oct 1, 2001); Mexico (July 1, 2002)
The VB also contained an explanation for the retrogression of EB3 numbers. It is never too smart to try and parse the DOS statement too closely. Nevertheless, we’ll try!
The DOS is plainly stating that USCIS is still having trouble digesting the several hundred thousand cases that were filed last July-August as a result of VisaGate; and so DOS is hesitant to over-progress the Visa Bulletin numbers until the extent of that backlog can be determined. Once USCIS is able to analyze the VisaGate cases, the VB dates could move dramatically. The DOS is trying to prevent any retrogress of the cut-off dates at that time by taking the conservative path at this time.
DOS Statement on the retrogression:
Item E of the May 2008 Visa Bulletin (number 118, volume VIII) indicated that many Employment cut-off dates had been advancing very rapidly, based on indications that the Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) would need to review a significantly larger pool of applicants than there were numbers available in order to maximize number use under the FY-2008 annual limits. That item also indicated that if the CIS projections proved to be incorrect, it would be necessary to adjust the cut-off dates during the final quarter of FY-2008. The CIS estimates have proven to be very high resulting in: 1) the “unavailability” of all Employment Third preference categories beginning in July, 2) the “unavailability” of numbers for China and India Employment Second preference adjustment of status cases during September, and 3) the establishment of many October Employment cut-off dates which are earlier than those which applied during FY-2008
Little if any forward movement of the cut-off dates in most Employment categories is likely until the extent of the CIS backlog of old priority dates can be determined. It is estimated that the FY-2009 Employment-based annual limit will be very close to the 140,000 minimum.