The U.S. Department of State (DOS) recently released its February 2008 Visa Bulletin. The Visa Bulletin significantly advances some of the employment-based immigrant visa categories. The DOS has indicated that the advancement of the priority dates at this time is intended to avoid a situation later in the fiscal year where large amounts of visa numbers remain available but there is not enough time to use them. If the DOS sees an increase in the use of the visa numbers by the USCIS, then the priority date advancement may slow down or stop altogether.
The DOS has advanced the World and Philippines employment-based third preference categories by more than two years from November 1, 2002 to January 1, 2005. The China employment-based third preference category has advanced by one year from November 15, 2001 to December 1, 2002. Similarly, the China employment-based second preference category has also advanced from January 1, 2003 to December 1, 2003. The India employment-based third preference category has advanced slightly from May 8, 2001 to August 1, 2001. The Mexico employmentbased third preference category advanced minimally from April 22, 2001 to May 1, 2001. The DOS has also advanced the employment-based third preference category for Other Workers from October 1, 2001 to January 1, 2002 for all countries of chargeability.
Thefollowing is a comparison of the employment-based immigrant visa categories since the categories retrogressed in 2005.