The Department of State manages the Visa Bulletin program, which is the system for the allocation of immigrant visas (green cards). The system was designed by Congress to allocate visas according to a preference system based on the applicant’s country of birth and their visa category (e.g. EB-1, EB-2, EB-3). New immigrant visas are allocated at the beginning of the US fiscal year, which is October 1, 2012. The EB-2 and EB-3 visa categories are used by many healthcare occupations including: registered nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech language pathologists.
AILA has met with the Department of State to obtain the projections for the upcoming 2013 fiscal year (October 1, 2012 – September 30, 2013). Several important notes came out of the meeting.
EB-1 usage is increasing. This indirectly impacts the EB-2 and EB-3 categories because unused EB-1 numbers are allocated to EB-2 and EB-3. Increasing EB-1 usage means fewer numbers to trickle down into the lower EB categories.
EB-2 India will be 2006. This is bad news for Indian natives who had hoped to see numbers similar to the favorable numbers that were posted in early 2012. The DOS expects slow movement in this category. China EB-2 will be retrogressed, although not as badly as India.
EB-2 Worldwide (Other) should be current. Other Eb-2 countries should be current for most of the year, although it will retrogress Summer 2013, as it does in most summers. Readers should not be alarmed in the October 2012 Visa Bulletin EB-2 number is not Current; it will be current in November 2012. The DOS may do this to slow the applications in October 2012. The visa number demand is greatest every October. By slowing the application flow in October, it allows the DOS and USCIS to efficiently allocate adjudicating officers’ time.
EB-3 Numbers. EB-3 Numbers will move at about the same pace as they did in 2012.