The U.S. State Department’sJuly 2009 Visa Bulletin reflects a retrogression of more than five years in the Employment Second Preference for China. The Employment First and Third Preference categories remain unchanged compared to the June 2009 Visa Bulletin.

The U.S. State Department (DOS) provided the following predictions for the employment-based categories:


  • Employment First Preference (EB-1) remains current but demand in this category is high. In fact, DOS anticipates that it may need to establish a cut-off date in August or September in the EB-1 category for India and China. In the past, India and China benefited from excess visas from other countries, but the increased demand from other countries has eliminated this excess.
  • Employment Second Preference (EB-2) outlook for China and India is not optimistic. DOS expects that this category for both countries may become unavailable in August or September of 2009. A significant number of cases - a number that grossly exceeds the 2,800 annual limit for each country - are currently awaiting visa numbers from the DOS and the DOS anticipates that natives of both countries will face long waits absent legislative relief.
  • Employment Third Preference (EB-3) will remain unavailable across the board until the end of this fiscal year. DOS estimates that EB-3 Worldwide will start the new fiscal year with the cut-off date of March 1, 2003, while estimated cut-off dates for other regions are March 1, 2003 for China, November 1, 2001 for India, and March 1, 2003 for Mexico. DOS noted that these estimates are based on "current demand" in the first part of FY2009 and that changes are possible when actual dates are established.

Despite the grim outlook for the future of permanent visa number availability, it should be noted that this situation could be remedied in the near future with comprehensive immigration reform. While the passage of reform in this calendar year is not a certainty, the Obama administration and sponsors of immigration reform legislation remain cautiously optimistic about a near-term development.