The month of June 2015 is not a good month for those who are waiting for their visas to be current under the first preference family based category and the employment based petition, third preference category. The first preference category that refers to a petition by a U.S. citizen on behalf of his/her adult single children retrogressed further from 2005 to 2000. And for employment based petitions third preference, the priority dates moved back from 2014 in April, to 2007 in May and now 2005 for the month of June.
One of those affected by this retrogression sent the following letter:
Dear Atty. Lou,
I have an approved employment based (EB3) immigrant visa petition with a priority date of June 15, 2012. The visa processing has been completed and the papers were ready to be sent to to US Embassy in Manila. I was just waiting for my packet 4 and appointment letter. Unfortunately, I was caught up by the retrogression as indicated by the May 2015 visa bulletin. I thought this is just temporary setback. But I noticed on the June 2015 visa bulletin that the EB3 retrogressed further to 2005 . My question is, why did the Department of State moved the priority dates so fast then retrogress it abruptly? I already paid my visa fee bills because this is the agreement with my employer and it’s a big amount of money for me. Will this retrogression be like the one that happened last 2005/2006 or is it just temporary? I am looking for answers and I really hope you can help me Atty. Tancinco through this difficult time. Thank you!
Retrogression of priority dates means further delay in the issuance of visas which may take months to several years. The reason there is retrogression is that the number of available visas in a given year are not enough for the number of approved petitions. It was explained by the Department of State representative that for Filipino nationals, there was not enough demand on the visa numbers under the 3rd preference for the last 3 years. So they decided to advance the priority dates beginning last year until April 2015. However, they have to retrogress again because when the priority dates were advanced, suddenly thousands of applicants applied again resulting in the shortage of numerical visas available. I believe that the thousands of applicants who suddenly showed up were after all in the pipeline like you waiting for the priority dates to be current. Definitely, this is going to be temporary but we cannot speculate when they can advance again. This depends on the number of approved visa applicants seeking to obtain the limited number of visas each year.
For those who are documentary qualified and have paid their visas, you just have to wait until the priority date of your petition becomes current again. Once it becomes current, you will be called for the interview. And for those who have applications for adjustment of status filed prior to the retrogression, these applications will remain in pending status until the priority dates become current again. They will not be returned to the applicant just because there is retrogression.
(Atty. Lourdes Santos Tancinco is a partner at Tancinco Law Offices and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1-888-930-0808, facebook.com/tancincolaw or visit her website at www.tancinco.com)