The October 2023 Visa Bulletin is much anticipated, as it is the first visa bulletin for the new 2024 fiscal year. The 2023 fiscal year ends on September 30, 2023, and the October visa bulletin will reflect fresh visa numbers for the new fiscal year.
If you’ve been following the visa bulletins closely over the past few months, you know that visa demand for both family-based and employment-based categories has been off the charts, so much so that preferences and countries that were typically “Current” for final action date had to have priority dates established – even requiring that those establish priority dates be retrogressed.
With a reset of visa numbers for the new fiscal year, it brings the question of whether or not priority dates will make some much-needed forward movement. Referencing a few previous visa bulletins of 2023, it does seem that the USCIS is planning on progressing priority dates in the October 2023 visa bulletin.
October 2023 Visa Bulletin Predictions
Let’s take a look at some of our predictions for the upcoming October 2023 Visa Bulletin and the 2024 fiscal year.
Employment-based Visa Numbers for FY 2024
Unfortunately for the employment-based preference, it does seem that the available visa number will be significantly less than last year. For FY 2023, approximately 197,000 total employment-based visas were available, due to a rollover of an additional 57,000 unused family-sponsored visa numbers from FY 2022.
While we don’t have access to the FY 2023 data just yet, it doesn’t appear that there will be any rollover visas from the family-based preference from 2023 for 2024. The USCIS has noted in many of the recent visa bulletins that FY 2023 saw an extremely high demand in the family-based preference, resulting in the need to establish final action dates in typically “Current” categories and even retrogressing these dates at some points. With this added demand and suspected backlog for family-based visas, there likely won’t be any rollover. This means that approximately 140,000 employment-based visas will be available for FY 2024.
Will India EB1 Advance Back to July 2023 Visa Bulletin Dates?
In the August 2023 Visa Bulletin, India EB1 took a huge hit – its priority date retrogressed 10 years, coming as a shock to many. This was due to the fact that India became oversubscribed, meaning that the total number of qualified applicants for India EB1 exceeded the supply of the numbers available for that particular month.
Prior to the August 2023 Visa Bulletin, applicants under India EB1 were able to receive unused EB1 visas from other countries. However, because there was a worldwide priority date established for EB1 across the board due to high demand, the USCIS were no longer able to issue EB1 visas outside of per-country limits.
India EB1 had reached its limit for fiscal year 2023 and a final action date of January 1, 2012 was established as this was the oldest priority date of an EB1 applicant. Currently, many applicants are around the 2012-2015 mark.
The USCIS reports that in the October 2023 Visa Bulletin, it is likely that the final action date for India EB1 will return back to its July 2023 Visa Bulletin priority date – February 1, 2022. This will depend upon how many visas are allotted to India EB1 for FY 2024 and the employment-based visa annual limit, which is certain to be fewer than FY 2023.
EB1 ROW, Mexico, and the Philippines Will Become Current
In the August 2023 Visa Bulletin, we saw a final action date established for ROW, Mexico, and the Philippines for EB1. Previously, these countries under this category and preference were “Current”. This was due to the increased demand for EB1 worldwide. However, it was noted in this visa bulletin that EB1 for ROW, Mexico, and the Philippines will likely become “Current” again in the October 2023 Visa Bulletin when number use limits are refreshed.
EB3 ROW, Mexico, and the Philippines – Back to Current Status?
In the May 2023 Visa Bulletin, it was necessary to establish a final action date for ROW, Mexico, and the Philippines under EB3 because of increased demand. These dates were further retrogressed in August to a priority date of May 1, 2020. While we aren’t convinced these dates will return to “Current”, we are hopeful that there will be some positive advancement for these countries under the EB3 category.
India EB3 – Is an Advancement Likely?
India EB3 took a huge hit in the July 2023 Visa Bulletin retrogressing by 3 years, 5 months, and 14 days, bringing the new final action date to January 1, 2009. This was a shock for many, especially considering how many applicants are waiting for their chance to file under India EB3.
Unfortunately, the USCIS looked at the visa numbers under India EB3 and discovered that the demand for this category greatly exceeded the number of visas that were left for fiscal year 2023. This caused them to move the priority date back to the first applicant for which there was no visa available, which was an astonishing priority date of 2009.
All EB3 India visa numbers were definitely used for fiscal year 2023. Will a visa use number refresh in October, will we see some movement in India EB3? We are expecting to see a movement of 2 to 3 months in this category and preference in the October 2023 Visa Bulletin.
F2A and F2B Categories Expectations
The family-based preference saw a huge increase in demand in the 2023 fiscal year, causing the need for a final action date to be established for F2A, previously “Current” category. F2B also saw retrogressions in priority dates over the last 6 months.
The question is, will demand remain extremely high under these categories, forcing F2A to stay under a priority date? Due to the fact that these priority dates were not only established, but also retrogressed over time, we do not believe that F2A will go back to “Current” in the October 2023 Visa Bulletin. It possibly could return to “Current” some time during the 2024 fiscal year, but for October, we likely will see a slight advancement in priority dates of a few months.
F2B has struggled similarly, with priority dates constantly retrogressing for most countries due to high demand. Hopefully, we will see a slight advancement in these priority dates as well as number use limits refresh.
When Will the October 2023 Visa Bulletin Be Released?
It is likely that the October 2023 Visa Bulletin will be released on September 6 or September 7.
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