The release of the October 2023 Visa Bulletin marked the first official visa bulletin of the 2024 fiscal year, with number use limits reset and allocated for the year. The official start of the 2024 fiscal year will begin on October 1, 2023.
The October 2023 Visa Bulletin priority dates took into account the number use limits for the 2024 fiscal year. For employment-based visas, this is estimated to be 165,000. Due to this allocation, many of the employment-based categories and preferences in the visa bulletin were able to recover from retrogressions in fiscal year 2023. In fact, every Final Action Date in the October 2023 Visa Bulletin advanced from its September 2023 priority date or remained the same.
On October 1, 2023, the USCIS and the DOS will begin to use their fiscal year 2024 visa numbers.
Key Takeaways From the October 2023 Visa Bulletin
One clear takeaway from the first visa bulletin of the 2024 fiscal year is that the number of unused family-based visa numbers rolling over to the employment-based category has become fewer and fewer. The demand for family-based visas has grown significantly as the USCIS has recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, which means that there likely won’t be any rollover from family-based numbers in the future. This means that the total number use for employment-based visas will likely eventually return to 140,000 annually.
Since this number of available visas is very low compared to the demand within the employment-based visa category, this means that wait times for immigrant visas will be greatly increased moving forward. Additionally, the USCIS and DOS report that they already have a large number of applications in hand for employment-based visas, even enough to use up all available visas for fiscal year 2024 for some categories.
The priority dates released in the October 2023 Visa Bulletin are likely very well calculated and reflect expected number use for certain categories for the 2024 fiscal year.
November 2023 Visa Bulletin Predictions
In the November 2023 Visa Bulletin, we don’t expect to see any forward movement yet for employment-based categories. The demand is so high in these categories, that even EB3 for other countries other than India and China is not “Current” at the beginning of the fiscal year for the first time since the 2018 fiscal year. Additionally, EB2 for other countries other than India and China is not “Current” at the beginning of the fiscal year for the first time ever. This is due to the fact that demand is so incredibly high for all employment-based visas.
For EB2 and EB3 for India, the USCIS and DOS already have enough applications to use up all available numbers for FY 2024 and beyond. Due to this fact, India EB2 and EB3 will likely not see any advancement for the rest of the fiscal year’s visa bulletins, unless recovering from retrogression.
For family-based visas, it may be too early in the fiscal year to see any additional movement in priority dates. However, we will likely see movement in some categories that are still recovering from fiscal year 2023 retrogressions such as F2A for ROW, China, India, and the Philippines.
When will the November 2023 Visa Bulletin be released? The latest visa bulletins have been releasing later than expected. However, the November 2023 Visa Bulletin will likely go live on October 10 or 11, 2023.
Check back for our full analysis of the November 2023 Visa Bulletin as soon as it is released.