By: Chris Musillo

The Department of State’s Visa Bulletin guru, Charlie Oppenheim, hosts monthly meetings with the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Mr. Oppenheim is the Department of State’s Chief of the Control and Reporting Division. He is the officer who is responsible for producing the Visa Bulletin each month.

Charlie offered a number of interesting observations about the March Visa Bulletin, which resulted in a retrogression for EB-3.

-Because of the potential for USCIS to move resources to EB-1 and EB-2 and the unpredictability in processing times that will be caused by such a resource allocation, Charlie does not expect any forward movement to the EB-3. The absolute earliest would be the May 2020 or June 2020 Visa Bulletin, but EB-3 could remain at January 2017 until the end of the fiscal year. Charlie did assure readers that

-While it is expected that the implementation of the public charge rules may slow USCIS processing times, any potential slowdown at USCIS has not been factored into the March Visa Bulletin.

-DOS was not surprised that the retrogression happened in March, in spite of the January and February progression of dates in some EB-3 categories. DOS wanted to wait until it was certain that the increase in demand was not showing any signs of decline.