The US Department of State’s release of the Visa Bulletin for July 2012 shows the establishment of a cut-off date of January 1, 2009, for the worldwide EB-2 preference category. This is due to the continued heavy demand for numbers in the EB-2 preference category (there are only 140,000 visa numbers available each year). China and India EB-2 will remain “unavailable” for the remainder of the fiscal year. If demand is considered “heavy” during these economic doldrums then it is hard to imagine how much further they can backlog when the economy strengthens.
Let’s hope that some of the pending legislation will alleviate this growing backlog, including:
S. 3192, SMART Jobs Act, introduced by Senators Alexander (R-TN) and Coons (D-DE) on May 16, 2012. S. 3192: This creates an F-4 nonimmigrant visa for
students pursuing an advanced degree in mathematics, engineering technology, or the physical sciences in the US and provides them with legal permanent residency if they obtained employment related to their field of study.
S. 3185, the STAR Act, introduced by Senator Cornyn, which allocates 55,000 immigrant visas for eligible STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) graduates of qualifying U.S. research institutions who have job offers in related fields. This is made possible by the elimination of the diversity visa program, which is a lottery for legal permanent residency for residents of certain low-demand countries.