Monthly Determination of Employment Preference Cut-Off Dates

Did you ever wonder how visa availability is calculated or why India and China are so backlogged in recent years?

Each month the Department of State Visa Office subdivides the annual preference and foreign state limitations specified by the Immigration and Nationality Act into monthly allotments based on the total qualified immigrant visa applicants reported at consular posts and USCIS offices, grouped by foreign state chargeability, preference category, and priority date. If there are sufficient numbers in a particular category to satisfy all reported qualified applicants, the category is considered “Current.”

For example: If the monthly allocation target is 3,000 and there is only demand for 1,000 applicants, the category will be “Current.”  Whenever the total qualified applicants in a category exceeds the supply of numbers available for allotment for the particular month, the category is considered to be “oversubscribed” and a visa availability cut-off date is established.

The cut-off date is the priority date of the first qualified applicant who could not be accommodated for a visa number.

For example: If the monthly target is 3,000 and there is demand for 8,000 applicants, then it would be necessary to establish a cut-off date so that only 3,000 numbers would be allocated. In this case, the cut-off would be the priority date of the 3,001st applicant.

The chart below shows the estimated total number of visas available for each employment preference category and country for fiscal year 2013.

 

Employment

 

Preference

 

China

All Other

Countries

Worldwide

Limit

E1

2, 803

2, 803

40, 040

E2

2, 803

2, 803

40, 040

E3/EW

2, 503*

2, 803

40, 040***

E4/SR

691

696

9, 940

E5

0*

695

9, 940

Total

8, 800*

9, 800

140, 000

 

Unused numbers can “fall-down” from E1 to E2 to E3. Unused numbers can “fall-up” from E4 and E5 to E1. This is taken into consideration when setting monthly/annual targets for number use based on historical/recent patterns.

The following charts demonstrate the demand data used in the determination of the February 2013 Employment Preference Cut-Off Dates.

Employment Second Preference

Cumulative Demand Prior To

 

All Other

Countries

 

China

 

India

 

Grand Total

January 1, 2005

0

0

275

275

January 1, 2006

0

0

725

725

January 1, 2007

0

0

1, 550

1, 550

January 1, 2008

0

150

7, 050

7, 200

January 1, 2009

25

3, 650

23, 550

27, 225

January 1, 2010

25

6, 300

36, 925

43, 250

January 1, 2012

175

7, 125

41, 700

49, 000

 

 

 

 

Employment Third Preference

Cumulative Demand Prior To

 

All Other Countries

 

 

China

 

 

India

 

 

Mexico

 

 

Philippines

 

Grand Total

January 1, 2005

0

0

0

0

0

0

January 1, 2006

150

0

1, 550

0

0

1, 700

January 1, 2007

75

0

12, 125

0

0

           12, 200

January 1, 2008

125

0

24, 100

0

0

24, 225

January 1, 2009

200

0

32, 000

0

0

32, 200

January 1, 2010

200

350

41, 550

25

4, 650

46, 775

January 1, 2012

6, 775

825

45, 100

750

7, 000

60, 450

 

Applications for Chinese and Indian nationals have increased dramatically in past six or seven (6-7) years.  Especially interesting is how much India and All Other Countries have increased in the Employment Third Preference when China has only had a minimal increase in this category.  Unless there is immigration reform, the backlog in both preference categories will continue to increase.

You can monitor the Visa Bulletin on our website at www.bashyamspiro.com or at the Department of State site at this LINK.