The Department of State ("DOS") has issued its Visa Bulletin for October 2012. This bulletin determines who can apply for U.S. permanent residence and when. The cutoff dates for family-based immigration continue to show backlogs and regressions due to the heavy demand for these visas. On the employment-based side, the October 2012 Visa Bulletin showed that the Second Preference ("EB-2") for China and India changed from "unavailable" to July 15, 2007, and September 1, 2004, respectively. The EB-2 cutoff date for the rest of the world advanced to January 1, 2012. In the October 2012 Visa Bulletin, the cutoff dates for the Employment-Based Third Preference ("EB-3") category are as follows: October 22, 2006, for all chargeability, including Mexico; February 8, 2006, for China; October 15, 2002, for India; and August 1, 2006, for the Philippines. The DOS's monthly Visa Bulletin is available at http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin_1360.html.

On August 30, 2012, the DOS's Visa Office discussed its predictions regarding the demand for employment-based immigrant visas for fiscal year ("FY") 2012 and FY 2013. Pertinent observations included:

  1. First Preference ("EB-1"): Demand is unusually high. The visa classification could close briefly if this continues.
  2. EB-2 Worldwide: Demand remains very high. It will not recover entirely in October 2012 but should become current later this year.
  3. EB-2 India: This category is expected to advance slowly throughout the balance of 2012 and through 2013.
  4. EB-2 China: This category may advance faster than EB-2 India but will continue to advance slowly.
  5. EB-3 Worldwide: Steady but slow progress is anticipated for the rest of 2012 and 2013.