Why did the Department of State retrogress the India EB-3 Final Action Date in the July 2023 Visa Bulletin?
The Department of State is responsible for enforcing the annual limits on visa use established by Congress. As the Department explains in “The Operation of the Numerical Control System,” when setting a Final Action Date in the Visa Bulletin, the demand for visas by applicants in an immigrant visa category chargeable to a particular country is compared to the visas remaining for that country in the current fiscal year. If the demand for visas in a category exceeds the supply of available numbers, the Department establishes a Final Action Date which is the priority date of the first applicant for whom a visa number could not be allocated. In the case of India EB-3 visas for July 2023, no visas remain available for applicants chargeable to India in this category because by the start of July, it is estimated that all of the EB-3 visa numbers available for the fiscal year will have already been used by applicants chargeable to India. Therefore, the Final Action Date for India is one day before the priority date of the first Indian applicant estimated to apply for an EB-3 visa.
When will the Final Action Date for India EB-3 advance, or return to where it was in June?
The annual limits will reset with the start of the new fiscal year, on October 1, 2023. The EB-3 Final Action Date for India is expected to advance once the annual limits reset in fiscal year 2024; however, the movement of this date throughout the fiscal year depends on various factors such as visa demand and the Employment-Based annual limit, which at this time is projected to be substantially lower than in FY-23.
Have these types of retrogressions, due to all visas being used, happened in the past?
Yes, this has occurred with regularity for oversubscribed countries in Employment-Based categories, particularly as the annual limits were lower in pre-pandemic years. Recent examples include the Visa Bulletin for June 2023, July 2019, June 2019, August 2018, and April 2018.