Highly skilled professional workers and close family members of green card holders (LPRs) and U.S. citizens continued to see a bit of a reprieve from the visa backlogs and priority date retrogression of just a year ago. The March 2012 Visa Bulletin reports that lighter demand for visa numbers has permitted the advance of priority dates, or green card availability, in a number of key categories.
The Family F2A category (spouses and children of lawful permanent residents) for March has a cut-off date of July 22, 2009 for all countries (in March 2011, the cut-off was January 1, 2007) except Mexico; for Mexico, the cut-off is July 1, 2009.
On the employment-based side, the wait for EB-2 Masters-level immigrant visas for China and India has dramatically improved and is now a little more than two years, or January 1, 2010. At this time just last year, the wait for these nationals was five years.
DOS cautions, however, that when the level of new filings or USCIS processing increases significantly, it will be necessary to slow or stop the movement of the cut-off dates, and retrogression is a distinct possibility.