China EB-3 Visa Numbers Retrogress Six Years Unexpectedly; State Dept. Warns That EB-5 Category May Retrogress
Retrogressions are looming for several employment-based categories:
EB-3. Due to an “unexpected and dramatic increase” in demand, the Department of State announced in the Visa Bulletin for June 2014 that visa number use in the employment third category has neared the annual limit. As a result, the E-3 cutoff dates will retrogress in June for the China, Worldwide, and Mexico categories. The China E-3 cutoff date is retrogressing by six years, to October 1, 2006.
EB-5. A Department official speaking at an immigration law conference in Washington, DC, on April 11, 2014, warned that higher-than-anticipated visa number usage in the EB-5 immigrant investor category may require the agency to impose a cut-off date this summer. If so, this would be the first time the EB-5 category would have a backlog in its 24-year history.
Every employment-based immigrant visa category has an annual limit. For EB-5, it is approximately 10,000 visas per year. That number includes principal EB-5 investors, their spouses, and their children under 21. For EB-5 cases, a person’s priority date is the date the USCIS receives their I-526 petition.
Investors from mainland China constitute about 80% of all EB-5 petitions. The Department would create a waiting list for Chinese investors first to make certain that some EB-5 green cards remain available for investors from other countries. Investors should file their I-526 petitions as soon as possible so that their EB-5 priority dates will be as early as possible. This will help them when EB-5 retrogression occurs. It is unclear when that will happen, possibly in late summer or early fall 2014.