AILA EB-5 Committee attorney Bernard Wolfsdorf has engaged in a discussion with the State Department clarifying the State Department’s recent visa availability projections in Item E of the March 2014 Visa Bulletin. The State Department has indicated that the EB-5 category will be “Current” for the foreseeable future, and there is no mention of “retrogression.”
Charlie W. Oppenheim, Chief of Immigrant Control & Reporting of the State Department, has advised that EB-5 demand was “manageable,” which means that visa availability will stay “Current” for the foreseeable future. Mr. Oppenheim stated he will most likely provide the next “availability” update in the June or July 2014 bulletin, and that he will try to provide notice about the potential for retrogression/unavailability one to two months in advance. Unanticipated changes in the Employment-based preference categories are typically the result of sudden and significant change in USCIS demand patterns, explained Mr. Oppenheim.
With USCIS using under 15% of the EB-5 limit and about 85% of cases being processed though the Department of State National Visa Center, where visa demand is reported for consideration in the determination of the next month’s visa availability, sudden and unanticipated changes in demand should not be a concern. He also pointed out demand for EB-5 visas increases substantially during the summer months when school attendance is no longer an issue. For example; during FY-2012 over 37% of the EB-5 numbers were used during July – September, and over 27% in FY-2013. Filing immigrant petitions and concluding cases to finality as soon as possible is important for immigrant visa applicants with potential age-out derivatives.
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