In the April 2009 Visa Bulletin, the Employment Third Preference Worldwide and Philippines cut-off dates will retrogress to March 1, 2003 from May 1, 2005. What is unusual about this retrogression is that it became effective immediately upon the U.S. government’s release of the April Visa Bulletin in early March. Generally, the Visa Bulletin becomes effective on the first day of the month for which it was issued, but in this case the retrogressions became effective on March 9, 2009.

The Department of State indicated that "the amount of demand being received from Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) Offices for adjustment of status cases remains extremely high. Therefore, it has been necessary to retrogress the April cut-off dates in an attempt to hold demand within the FY-2009 annual limit. … This cut-off date will be applied immediately." The DOS also stated that further retrogression or "unavailability" at anytime cannot be ruled out. It is unlikely that the Third Preference category will remain available in the near future.

On a more positive note, the Third Preference cut-off date for China advanced from October 22, 2002 to March 1, 2003 and the Third Preference cut-off date for India advanced from October 15, 2001 to November 1, 2001.