The November 2012 visa bulletin released last night and brings cheer for some and the regular monthly dose of disappointment for Indian nationals. EB2-ROW is now current – a big relief for those from countries other than China, India, Mexico or Canada that were dealt with a shocker last month. EB2-India did not move a single day – and remains stuck at September 1, 2004. Yes, 2004. EB3-India moved by a week again, confirming the theory that in the absence of legislation, this category will not become current in a very long time for those with priority dates in the late part of the last decade.
I am sure we’ve all wondered how these dates are arrived at and it appears random and cruel to those in the endlesswait. But there is apparently a method to the madness and USCIS and the DOL deserve kudos for the vast data that they have been releasing off late. Transparency is definitely helpful in dealing with this situation – it’s that last thread on which our hope rests.
The State Department released this EB Demand Data report earlier in the week, which shows this exponential growth in EB2-India cases since 2007. There were 33 times more EB2-India cases pending in 2012 compared to 2007. EB3-India, on the other hand, had a relatively modest increase of roughly 35%.
The reason for the surge is primarily EB3 candidates that have been in the country for several years making a fresh petition under EB2. They are able to do this because many of the EB3 candidates have now been in their professions for several more years during the wait and have gotten promoted to an EB2-level position and/or received their Masters degrees. That, along with some other qualifications, now qualifies them to apply under the EB2 category. Another factor contributing to the surge is new applicants picking EB2 instead of EB3 given the hopeless wait associated with the latter.
My interpretation of this is that EB2 dates have now retrogressed back to 2004 to allow USCIS to clear all backlogs prior to 2007 first and then get to the rest. Opening the gates temporarily for EB2-India allowed applicants to apply for their EADs and avoid being on the stressful annual H1-B renewal cycle – much like what they did in 2007.
My prediction (and hey, I am no lawyer and know nothing – so don’t take my word for anything) is that EB2 India will get to at least January 2007, if not more like May 2007 relatively soon. But beyond that, the progress will be slow. For applicants with priority dates 2009 or later, the road is going to be rough unless legislation comes to our rescue. And that, my friends, takes this drama back a full circle to Washington D.C. and the best don’t know what’s going to happen there. Uncertainty will continue to rule our lives for the foreseeable future. The positive side of it is that the recent opening of the floodgates allowed many to get their EADs so now they can change their jobs via AC21 if needed and also start part-time businesses.
The silver lining in the cloud is that some of these restrictions makes some decisions for us. They can only narrow our choices, not eliminate them altogether. True survivors and winners will take what they have and make the most of it and I will be trying to get there myself and hope that you will as well.