September 2017 Visa Bulletin Analysis

The last Visa Bulletin for the fiscal year was released yesterday and it contains a few surprises.

Employment-Based Movement

Trends and projections are provided monthly by Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division.  July’s “Check-in with Charlie” suggested that little movement in EB-1 for China and India was expected.  That prediction held true, as those categories did not advance, remaining at 01JAN12.  EB-1 Worldwide remains current.

The bright spot in the September bulletin is in the EB-2 Worldwide category.  Charlie had predicted that it would remain the same, perhaps even retrogress.  We had to do a double-take to confirm that it actually moved forward, a whopping nine months, to 01JAN16.  Great news! Though EB-2 China and India are still woefully backlogged, they both did move forward nearly a month each.  EB-2 China is now at 15MAY13 and India at 22AUG08.

Family-Based Movement

Family based priority dates moved forward in the F2A (Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents) category nearly across the board, though the gains were small, advancing just over a week. Others in the Worldwide column, including F1 (Unmarried Sons and Daughters of USCs) and F4 (Siblings) retrogressed.  Other retrogression was seen in the F1 category for China and India.

Looking Towards FY 2018

USCIS has indicated that only the Final Action dates that are found in Chart A may be used for August and September 2017 filings.

October is the start of the new federal Fiscal year and typically starts off with more visa availability.  In Fiscal Year 2018, movement in EB-2 India and other employment-based categories is expected to be similar to movement this fiscal year, including more conservative advancement during the first quarter.

Ellis Porter will continue to post analysis of priority date movement as dates are released, typically around the 10th of each month.  We will also be developing informative materials on how to navigate the Visa Bulletin.