The Department of State (DOS) Visa Bulletin for May 2013 indicates some significant forward movement for the employment-based third preference categories (EB3), particularly for EB3 China which has moved forward eight months to December 1, 2007. EB3 Mexico and EB3 for all other countries except India and the Philippines moved forward five months to December 1, 2007. EB3 India and EB3 Philippines moved only slightly forward to December 22, 2002 (India) and September 15, 2006 (Philippines).
The employment-based first preference category (EB1) continues to remain current for all countries. The priority date for EB2 China has moved to May 15, 2008 while EB2 India once again remains at September 1, 2004. The EB2 category for all other countries, including Mexico and the Philippines, remain current.
DOS explained that the forward movement in the EB3 category is an attempt to generate demand so that the annual numerical limit may be fully utilized. They expect forward movement to continue for the next few months but note that the rapid movement of cut-off dates is often followed by a large increase in demand for visa numbers. Any such increase would once again slow-down or stop any forward movement in this category. While DOS attempts to avoid retrogression in visa availability, this is also a possibility when there is rapid movement during the fiscal year. Keep in mind that the government’s fiscal year runs October 1 to September 30.
Note that DOS looks at your country of birth in determining whether you are a national of a given country, not your country of citizenship. It is country of birth (yours or your spouse) that determines which country to which you are “charged” or “counted” for purposes of permanent residency. For example, if you were born in India but have since become a citizen of Canada, you are still charged against India and you have to look at advancements for India rather than worldwide numbers. As another example, if you (principal applicant on an employment based process) were born in India but you are married to a person who was born in Canada, both of you can be charged against Canada. This latter example is called “cross-chargeability”.
For general information on visa retrogression, please see our FAQ on this subject. For more information on the Visa Bulletin and country quota movements, including information about movement in the Family-Based Quotas, please see our DOS Visa Bulletin and Quota Movement page, which includes detailed nationality-specific charts of quota movement since 1996.
Please also note that while Congress is contemplating new immigration legislation it is far too early to look at the potential changes and their impact on the immigration system. Until new legislation is actually passed and becomes law, we can only look to the current laws for how cases will be processed.