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by Carl Shusterman

May 2011 Visa Bulletin: Visa Numbers Inch Ahead

The substantial advances predicted for the EB-2 India category failed to materialize in May, and absent legislative action, we don't believe there will ever be a significant forward movement in this category. Why? The reason is simple: do the numbers.

First, the good news. EB-2 India advanced for the first time since last September, but only by seven weeks. EB-2 China advanced as well, but only three weeks. Both EB-2 India and China will continue to advance each month this fiscal year. Why? Since the State Department predicts that the 140,000 numbers allocated to EB applicants will not be used this fiscal year, the law allows the seven percent limitation for both countries to be waived.

Now, the bad news. The forward movement of EB-2 China and India will only be a few weeks each month. Last month, the State Department announced that there were over 12,000 unused EB-1 numbers which will be added to the normal EB-2 allocation this fiscal year. However, there are over 17,000 persons with 2006 priority dates with pending applications for adjustment of status in the EB-2 category. Over 13,000 of these persons were born in India, and over 4,000 of them were born in China. This means that even with the addition of 12,000 extra numbers, no one from China or India with a priority date subsequent to 2006 will receive a green card this fiscal year.

Leaving the EB-2 category aside, what was the story for the family categories and the other employment-based categories?

Family Categories

Two of the worldwide family categories (1st and 2B) failed to move in May, while the others advanced modestly, betweeen five and nine weeks. The biggest move occurred in the Mexican 2B category which advanced six months. Good news for the Philippine family categories which advanced between one month to over three months.

Emloyment Categories

The worldwide EB-3 category for professionals and skilled workers advanced four weeks while the worldwide EB-3 category for unskilled workers moved forward six weeks. The most significant advance was in the Mexican EB-3 category for professionals and skilled workers which moved forward four months.

For the complete story, see the following charts:


Categories Worldwide China (PRC) Mexico Philippines
1st 5-01-04 5-01-04 3-1-93 7-15-95
2A 6-08-07 6-08-07 1-01-07 6-08-07
2B 4-15-03 4-15-03 8-1-92 3-01-00
3rd 5-1-01 5-1-01 11-15-92 2-15-92
4th 3-08-00 1-22-00 2-15-96 4-08-88


Categories Worldwide China (PRC) India Mexico Philippines
1st Current Current Current Current Current
2nd Current 8-01-06 7-1-06 Current Current
3rd 8-22-05 4-15-04 4-15-02 9-08-04 8-22-05
Unskilled 9-08-03 4-22-03 4-15-02 9-08-03 9-08-03
4th Current Current Current Current Current
Religious Current Current Current Current Current
5th Current Current Current Current Current

About The Author

Carl Shusterman is the managing attorney of Law Offices of Carl Shusterman based in Los Angeles, CA. He has specialized in immigration law for over 30 years and his six-attorney law firm represents clients in all 50 states. Mr. Shusterman is a 1973 graduate of the UCLA School of Law. He served as an attorney for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) until 1982 when he entered private practice. He is authorized to practice before the Supreme Court of California, the Federal District Court in the Central District of California, the U.S. Court of Appeals in a number of different circuits and the Supreme Court of the United States. Mr. Shusterman is a former chairman of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Southern California Chapter and served as a member of AILA's National Board of Governors (1988-97). He has chaired numerous AILA Committees, spoken at dozens of AILA Conferences and has contributed a number of scholarly articles to AILA's publications. Mr. Shusterman is a Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law, State Bar of California. He has served as a member of the Immigration and Nationality Law Advisory Commission for the State Bar. He has been named as one of Best Attorneys in America and as a SuperLawyer for many years. He is a frequent writer and lecturer on immigration law. Mr. Shusterman has testified as an expert witness before the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration in Washington, D.C. His website,, receives over 1,000,000 hits each week, and his free, e-mail newsletter has almost 60,000 subscribers in more than 150 countries.

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