bigstock-Passport-Gavel-5802855August 31, 2010

The September Visa Bulletin marks the end of the fiscal year (FY10), which usually coincides with the aggressive advancement of priority dates for EB2 and EB3 visas categories. The EB2 is current for all countries of chargeability with the exception of India and China. For the third month in a row, the U.S. Department of State has advanced the EB2 visas for Indian nationals, one the largest groups immigrating to the U.S. The EB2 China and EB3 All Chargeability Areas except those listed have also advanced. This is said to be due to the dwindling number of visa requests in underutilized categories due to low demand. It is expected that the advancement of cutoff dates that were seen in the last few months will retrogress substantially with the release of the November or December Visa Bulletin 2010 at the beginning of FY11.

The limit for employment-based preference immigrants for FY10 is 150,657. The limit for family-sponsored preference immigrants for FY10 is 226,000. The limit for individual countries is 7% of the total number of employment-based preference and family-sponsored preference limits, or 26,366, while the dependent area limit is 2% of the total numbers, or 7,533.

EB1 visas, Employment-Based First Preference visas, are issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to certain managers and executives, researchers and professors and those who have shown extraordinary ability in business, science, athletics, art or education. EB2 visas, also known as Employment-Based Second Preference visas, are issued to foreign professionals with a masters degree or higher or those who have exceptional ability in business- or science-related fields who have been offered a position from a U.S. company. EB3 visas, or Employment-Based Third Preference visas, are issued to foreign professional workers who have a bachelors degree or higher, skilled workers who have been offered positions by U.S. companies that require at least two years of training, as well as to unskilled workers who have been offered positions by U.S. companies that require less than two years of training.

EB4 visas are issued to religious workers who have been active members of a religious denomination that has a nonprofit religious organization in the United States for at least the past two years. EB5 visas are issued to those who plan to immigrate to the U.S. to create employment for U.S. citizens through development and investing. Family-based preference visas also enable the spouses and children, and sometimes the siblings, of the employed person to come to the U.S. as well. Children and spouses of preference immigrants are given the same status, as well as the same order of consideration, as the family member who has applied for the employment-based visa.

There is an equal percentage of EB1, EB2 and EB3 visas issued, 28.6%, with a few provisions. For instance, EB1 priority workers make up 28.6% of the employment-based preference level for all countries, with the addition of any numbers that are not required for fourth and fifth preferences. EB2 professionals with advanced degrees make up 28.6% of the employment-based preference level, with the addition of any numbers that are not required by first preference. EB3 visas, which are issued to professionals, skilled workers and other workers requiring less education, make up 28.6%, with the addition of any numbers that are not required by first and second preferences, although only 10,000 or less can be those classified as “other workers.” EB4 and EB5 both make up 7.1% of the total number of employment-based preference numbers for all countries, but 3,000 EB5 visas are reserved for investors in high-unemployment or rural areas, and an additional 3,000 are set aside for those investing in regional centers.