The results of the October 2022 Visa Bulletin were not only frustrating for potential green card applicants, but also shocking. It marked the beginning of the government’s 2023 fiscal year, and a retrogression in India’s EB2 category of over 2 years and 8 months was simply not expected, even by experts in the field. With this news, many green card hopefuls in the India EB2 category are left wondering when their priority date will be current, with some right on the cusp of their date. The November 2022 Visa Bulletin could bring some answers to the current situation, and whether or not any movement in priority dates will occur for India EB2 and India EB3 through December 2022.
Employment-Based Green Card Limits For FY 2023
The USCIS announced that all allotted employment-based green cards (281,507) for FY 2022 were in fact used. As for FY 2023, the USCIS says that the annual limit for employment-based green cards will be higher than before the pandemic, but lower than FY 2021 and 2022. They estimate that the employment-based green card annual limit will be about 200,000. They have vowed to work diligently in order to use all available employment-based visas in FY 2023.
What Caused the Significant India EB2 Retrogression in October’s 2022 Visa Bulletin?
October is the first Visa Bulletin released for the new fiscal year, which means that the priority dates released likely set a tone for what is to come during that fiscal year. When determining this bulletin, the USCIS and DOS will review the pending inventory of applications and adjustments of status along with estimating how many of those pending or newly filed applications are likely to be granted a visa during the fiscal year in order to determine priority dates.
The USCIS has reported that the India EB2 category demand is far exceeding the supply of the amount of visas available, and is considered to be “oversubscribed”. Due to this overwhelming demand, the India EB2 priority dates had to be retrogressed in order to ensure that the visa use remains within their fiscal year limits. The USCIS states that without the retrogression we saw in October’s Visa Bulletin for 2022, all available visas would have likely been used within just the first few weeks of the fiscal year.
How Retrogression Affects Your Priority Date
Your priority date is not affected by retrogressions, and it doesn’t not affect your place in line for a visa. You’ll still receive a visa when one becomes available based on your original priority date. A retrogression simply means that due to the annual visa limits, visas are not available to everyone waiting for one and even an application for adjustment of status has already been filed.
Spillover Visas From Family-Based Categories
In terms of spillover numbers, it is currently unclear how many spillover visas will be available to be used in the employment-based categories. Our research estimates that the spillover numbers could very well be anywhere from 0 to in the tens of thousands. The spillover numbers will be available after September 30, 2022, which will give us a better idea of how this may affect future Visa Bulletin priority dates.
November 2022 Visa Bulletin Predictions
So, what can we expect for November’s Visa Bulletin? We hear and see the frustration being expressed regarding the huge retrogression in India’s EB2 category and the uncertainty it brings for those who are eagerly waiting for their chance at a green card.
It does not appear at this time that India EB2 will retrogress further, however, we don’t foresee that it will make any movement in the November 2022 Visa Bulletin.
India EB3 could possibly advance between a month or three months, depending on spillover visa numbers (if there are any).
Since the October 2022 Visa Bulletin was the first bulletin of the fiscal year, it is hard to predict exactly what we can expect moving forward. The November 2022 Visa Bulletin should make things more clear in terms of what is to be expected moving forward.
Be sure to check back when the November 2022 Visa Bulletin releases for our comprehensive review of the results and our analysis!