Monday, January 14, 2019

FEBRUARY 2019 VISA BULLETIN: ANALYSIS AND PREDICTIONS

The Department of State has just issued the February 2019 Visa Bulletin. This is the fifth Visa Bulletin of Fiscal Year 2019. This blog post analyzes this month's Visa Bulletin.

February 2019 Visa Bulletin

Table A: Final Action Dates -- Applications with these dates may be approved for their Green Card (Permanent Residency card) or Immigrant Visa appointment.

EB 
Class 
All Other  
CHINA       
INDIA     
PHILIPPINES    
EB-1
01DEC17
08FEB17
08FEB17
01DEC17
EB-2
C
01OCT15
06APR09 
C
EB-3
C
01JUL15
22APR09 
01AUG17    

Table B: Dates for Filing -- The DOS may work on applications with these dates. But the Visa cannot be approved until the date is current per Table A.

EB 
Class 
All Other  
CHINA       
INDIA     
PHILIPPINES    
EB-1
01JUN18
01OCT17
01OCT17
01JUN18
EB-2
C
01NOV15
22MAY09 
C
EB-3
01JAN16
01APR10 

01OCT17      

MU Law Analysis (all references are to Table A unless noted)

All Other: As we expected, the EB-1 category again moved several months.  We expect continued steady movement in this category for All Other.  We do not see any retrogression in the future for EB2 or EB3, other than the usual retrogression at the end of the Fiscal Year.

China: Likewise, the China EB-1 category progressed several months. This category may not move as fast as All Other in the next few Visa Bulletins.  China EB-2 moved two months.  EB-3 only moved a few weeks, reflecting continued high demand.  Still, we expect EB-3 to slightly outpace EB-2 in the next few Visa Bulletins.

India: India EB-2 moved by just one week. EB-3 progressed by six weeks.  We expect the slow/no progress to be standard for EB-2 in the first part of FY 2019.  We are slightly more optimistic about India EB-3, which could continue to progress faster than EB-2.

Philippines: The EB-3 date showed steady progress, improving by six weeks. Over the course of FY2019, we should eventually see the EB-3 priority date extend into FY2018.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

H-1B COMMENT PERIOD CLOSED

Last month USCIS published two proposed rules to the H-1B cap process.  As we noted on December 5, 2018:

 The two rules are:

1.    Electronic pre-registration for the H-1B cap.  This is a proposed rule that has been considered by USCIS since 2011.  Under the proposal, all H-1B lottery petitions will need to be electronically pre-registered during the H-1B pre-registration period from April 1-7.  After the pre-registration period has concluded, USCIS will run the H-1B lottery.  All H-1B lottery winners will then have 60 days to submit the actual H-1B petition.  If implemented properly, this should save petitioners and the industry significant expense.

2.    H-1B Masters Cap Allocation Preference.  USCIS will technically re-engineer the way that it conducts the H-1B lottery.  The result of the re-engineering should mean that a slightly greater number of H-1B petitions will be approved for US Masters Degree H-1B Beneficiaries than under the current H-1B lottery.  We previously explained this process on an earlier blog.

Now that the comment period has ended the USCIS must read and consider all of the comments, which were plentiful.  Many of the comments focused on the fact that rushing this proposal forward for the April 1, 2019 H-1B cap is a bad idea.  MU Law agrees that the USCIS is moving too fast with these recommendations.

The USCIS has not announced a timetable for a decision as to whether the proposed changes will be adopted and, if so, whether they will go into effect for April 2019.  It is however expected that they will make a decision by February.