Effective immediately, visa numbers in the Employment-Based Second Preference (EB-2) category for India are unavailable for the remainder of the current fiscal year which ends Sept. 30, according to the U.S. Department of State.

The announcement means that there will be no more visa approvals in the EB-2 category for nationals of India this month. Applications may be returned or held by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services until new visa numbers become available on Oct. 1, the start of fiscal year 2015. The EB-2 India priority cut-off date will be May 1, 2009 on Oct. 1, according to the October Visa Bulletin. Some immigrant petitions may be approved this month if a visa number has already been allocated. The immediate “unavailability” of visa numbers can happen at this time of year when the current fiscal cycle closes and the cap on available visas has been reached.

In the coming months, EB-2 Indian professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional ability should expect significant retrogression. As early as November or December, the cut-off date may retrogress as far back as early 2005, according to a State Department official. One key reason for this anticipated retrogression is the large increase in EB-3 to EB-2 upgrades for Indian-born applicants.

BAL Analysis: Because of extremely high demand, the forecast for EB-2 India is a sizeable retrogression within the next two months and advancement at a crawl’s pace next year.

Copyright © 2016 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact copyright@bal.com.