The Department of State's Visa Bulletin for May 2011 notes that demand in the employment first preference is extremely low compared with that of recent years. Absent an immediate and dramatic increase in demand, this category is expected to remain "Current" for all countries. It also appears unlikely, the Bulletin says, that a second preference cut-off date will be imposed for any countries other than China and India, where demand is extremely high. Based on current indications of demand, the best-case scenarios for cut-off date movement each month during the coming months are as follows:

Employment Second: Demand by applicants who are "upgrading" their status from employment third to employment second preference is very high, but the exact amount is not known. Such upgrades are in addition to the known demand already reported. The Bulletin said this makes it difficult to predict ultimate demand based on forward movement of the China and India cut-off dates. Although thousands of "otherwise unused" numbers will be available for potential use without regard to the China and India employment second preference per-country annual limits, it is not known how the upgrades will ultimately affect the cut-offs for those two countries.

China: An advance in the priority date of zero to three weeks is expected through July. No August or September estimate is possible at this time.

India: An advance in the priority date of one or more weeks, possibly followed by additional movement if demand remains stable. No August or September estimate is possible at this time.

Employment Third:

Worldwide: An advance in the priority date of three to six weeks may occur.

China: An advance in the priority date of one to three weeks may occur.

India: An advance in the priority date of zero to two weeks is likely.

Mexico: Continued forward movement is expected; no specific projections at this time.

Philippines: An advance in the priority date of three to six weeks is likely

The Bulletin notes that the above ranges are estimates based on current demand patterns and are subject to fluctuations during the coming months.

The Visa Bulletin for May 2011 is available here.