On Feb. 8, 2016, the March 2016 Visa Bulletin was released (previously covered by Greenberg Traurig here).  Shortly thereafter, on Feb. 17, 2016, AILA “checked in” with Charles (Charlie) Oppenheim, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division, U.S. Department of State, to obtain his analysis of current developments and his future predictions. Below are highlights of Charlie’s predictions based on the March 2016 Visa Bulletin:

Potential EB-5 China Movements

Charlie’s forecast for EB-5 China is slow advancement of the cut-off date. This may bring a bit of relief to Chinese EB-5 investors who are being reassured with Charlie’s predictions that retrogression will eventually be “avoided,” albeit slowly.

EB-2 and EB-3 China

Per the March Visa Bulletin, EB-2 China will advance five months from March 1, 2012, to Aug. 1, 2012. Charlie believes that EB-2 China will continue to advance monthly at this same rate. EB-3 China will advance even more, from Oct. 1, 2012, to June 1, 2013, with predictions that this category will continue to advance five months each month. Charlie is watching these two categories very closely, noting that there is a pattern of some EB-2 China applicants downgrading to EB-3 in order to increase demand and slow down, or even retrogress, the EB-3 category, thereby allowing EB-2 China to advance again. Although Charlie is predicting a similar pattern this year, significant EB-3 China demand has not occurred yet.

EB-2 India

Due to a growing demand in the EB-2 India category, the advancement of final action dates will start to slow down in March. Final action dates will advance only one and one-half months (from Aug. 1, 2008, to Oct. 15, 2008),  which includes EB-3 upgrades, as indicated in the March Visa Bulletin. Charlie predicts that more numbers may move down to this category when EB-1 and EB-2 worldwide demand is assessed in June, which could further impact the movement of this category.

No Significant New Projections for the April 2016 Bulletin

Charlie does not anticipate any new projections for next month’s “Check-In” as the April Visa Bulletin is not expected to have any significant movement. However, Charlie predicts that the June Visa Bulletin will be more eventful. Charlie expects greater changes to final action dates and for unused numbers to move down to other categories in June. It will be interesting to see what changes future Visa Bulletins will bring to various immigrant preference categories.