The October monthly Visa Bulletin published by the Department of State (DOS) is awaited with anticipation and hope for advancement of visa availability. The focus for many affected individuals regarding the October Visa Bulletin was the employment-based third preference (EB-3) that became "unavailable” effective July 2008. The question was whether the October cut-off dates would resume where they had left off in June 2008 or whether the cut-off dates would retrogress because of high demand. Excepting Mexico (which picked up where it had left off in June) all EB-3 chargeabilities retrogressed relative to where they were in June. The cut-off date for EB-3 China fell back by 17 months while India's EB-3 date retrogressed by 4 months. In the EB-2 category the China cut-off date retrogressed by 28 months and India by 40 months while the remaining chargeabilities remained “current.”

The reason for this retrogression according to the DOS was that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) set out to maximize the number of visas used in each category. To do so, the CIS reviewed more cases than there were immigrant visa numbers available. The DOS indicated that "[t]he CIS estimates have proven to be very high" which led to the retrogression of several of the employment-based cut-off dates for October. The DOS predicts that "[l]ittle if any forward movement of the cut-off dates in most employment categories is likely until the extent of the CIS backlog of old priority dates can be determined."