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Bloggings on Updates in Immigration Law

by Carl Shusterman

Editor's note: Here are the latest entries from Carl Shusterman's blog.

June 10, 2009

Grim Outlook for EB Visa Numbers

Why do we punish people who play by the rules?

Charles Oppenheim, Guru of the Visa Office in the State Department, has confirmed what we
warned employment-based (EB) immigrants about in our June 2009 newsletter.

Not only are EB-3 numbers unavailable for the rest of the fiscal year and EB-2 numbers for
persons born in China and India oversubscribed, but the situation is going to get worse,
much worse.

Mr. Oppenheim states that the EB-1, EB-4 and EB-5 categories are all experiencing greatly
increased demand, so much so that the EB-4 category (religious workers and special
immigrants) may retrogress this summer.  This is very significant since unused visa numbers
in these categories are typically given to those in the EB-2 and EB-3 categories.  Without
these extra numbers, the retrogression in the EB-2 and EB-3 categories will be that much

How much worse, you ask?

Because the Labor Department has cleared its backlog of old cases, during the past year the
USCIS processed many thousands of I-140 visa petitions with priority dates prior to 2005. 
Mr. Oppenheim states that because of this, the worldwide EB-3 cut-off date will be
March 1, 2003 come October 1st.  Things will be worse for those born in India where the
EB-3 cut-off date will be November 1, 2001.

Expect EB-2 visa numbers for Indians to become unavailable either in August or September.
What will happen to EB-2 India in the coming fiscal year?  We wouldn't be surprised if the
category retrogressed up to 10 years or more.  Ditto for EB-2 China.

Just like the automakers, the immigration SUV is about to go over a cliff.  With European
countries and Canada making it easier for talented scientists, engineers, programmers and
health care workers to immigrate, our restrictive immigration laws and policies are driving
highly-educated immigrants away.  We educate foreign students in our best universities, and
then say "Happy Graduation, Now Go Home!"  As a result of this short-sighted policy, our
country's position as the world leader in science and technology is threatened.

Only if Congress acts to pass pending legislation like the Reuniting Families Act which
would allow for the recapture of 400,000 lost visa numbers could disaster be averted. 

We link to this bill and to a host of other pending legislation which addresses our
broken legal immigration system from our "Immigration Legislation" page at