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China, India Visa Number Priority Cut-Off Dates Move Forward


The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin for February 2012 shows that the China and India cut-off dates continue to move forward, in some cases at a rapid rate.

For February, the China employment-based second preference cut-off date has advanced a year to January 1, 2010. Also for February, the China employment-based third preference cut-off date is December 1, 2004, advancing a month and a half from January’s cut-off date, when it was October 15, 2004. The third preference “Other Workers” category remains unchanged at April 22, 2003.

For February, the India employment-based second preference cut-off date is January 1, 2010, also advancing a year. Also for February, the India employment-based third preference cut-off date is August 15, 2002, advancing a week from January’s cut-off date. The third preference “Other Workers” category for India in February is August 15, 2002, a two-week advance from January. The Visa Office explained in the February bulletin:

China and India: Reports from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) indicate that the rate of new filings for adjustment of status in recent months has been extremely low. This fact has required the continued rapid forward movement of the cut-off date, in an attempt to generate demand and maximize number use under the annual limit.  Once the level of new filings or USCIS processing increases significantly, it will be necessary to slow or stop the movement of the cut-off.  Readers are once again advised that an eventual need to retrogress the cut-off date is also a distinct possibility.

Also, in the January bulletin, the Visa Office noted:

The China and India Employment Second preference cut-off date has been advanced at a rapid rate in recent months. As previously noted, this action was intended to generate significant levels of new filings for adjustment of status at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices. USCIS has reported that the rate of new filings is currently far below that which they had anticipated, prompting an even more aggressive movement of the cut-off date for January and possibly beyond. While this action greatly increases the potential for an eventual retrogression of the cut-off at some point during the year, it also provides the best opportunity to utilize all numbers available under the annual limit.

The February 2012 bulletin notes that those categories with a “Current” projection will remain so for the foreseeable future. The Visa Office estimates that other employment-based categories not discussed above could also advance by up to one month per month in the near future, including the Worldwide, Mexico, and Philippines categories, depending on demand.

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