The tide seems to be turning and the EB-2 immigrant visa numbers may again retrogress for nationals of India and China. Charlie Oppenheim, Chief, Visa Control and Reporting at the Department of State, speaking at the recent AILA Midwest Regional Conference in Chicago, advised American Immigration Lawyers Association Members that he will likely retrogress India and China-Mainland born Employment-Based Second Preference (EB-2) priority dates back to August 2007. The April 2012 Visa Bulletin reports priority dates of May 1, 2010 for this immigrant visa category. This retrogression will likely be effective with the May or June 2012 Visa Bulletin. The EB-2 immigrant visa category is the route to Permanent Residence (a “Green Card”) for employer sponsored applicants who possess an advanced degree. The Visa Bulletin generally controls when these applicants are permitted to apply for the final stage and receive their Green Cards based upon their priority date (the date their applications were filed) matching the dates reported by the Visa Bulletin.

This proposed retrogression will end the dramatic advancements of that green card category over the past months. The implications for this retrogression for employers is that employees who were ready to file their final stage of their Green Card and receive that card, may again be subject to a significant wait.