Every month, the U.S. Department of State publishes a summary of visa number availability in its Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletin for the month of April 2009 was issued on March 6, and explains that because of heavy demand in the employment-based third preference (EB-3) category (normally jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree or at least two years of experience), immigrant visa numbers in that category retrogressed for April. That means that the numbers went backward! In March, only those foreign nationals in the EB-3 category with a priority date earlier than May 1, 2005 (except those born in China, India, and Mexico, for whom the priority date is even earlier) are eligible to complete their green card cases. But in the April Bulletin, the date went back to March 1, 2003.

The Department of State advises in the April Visa Bulletin that demand for visa numbers in many preference categories has been “extremely high,” and the agency warns that the heavy demand could require cut-off date movements to slow, stop, or even retrogress at some point during the remainder of this fiscal year, which ends on September 30, 2009.