By Joey Barnett, Partner, WR Immigration
This week, the Department of State (DOS) released its 2022 Report of the Visa Office. Charlie Oppenheim, former DOS Chief of Immigrant Visa Control Charlie Oppenheim and current Director of Visa Consulting at WR Immigration, will discuss his analysis of the report during two Chatting with Charlie webinars, which require registration to join:
For over two decades, both the White House and Congressional Leadership have turned to Mr. Oppenheim for guidance on how the green card numerical control process could be updated to meet intended goals. The Chatting with Charlie webinar series will focus on projections, predictions and guidance for strategic visa planning that will be invaluable to Human Resource Managers, in addition to visa applicants.
Below are five takeaways from the report:
Due to consular closures abroad in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic and unused family-based visa numbers from fiscal year (FY) 2021 being allocated, the overall employment-based annual limit for immigrant visas in FY2022 was 281,507, slightly more than double the typical annual total of 140,000. As such, overall employment-based visa numbers are higher in FY 2022 than in immediately prior years because consular posts have started to open up and more visa numbers were available for use.
DOS has not yet released Table V – Immigrant Visas Issued and Adjustment of Status Subject to Numerical Limitations (by Foreign State of Chargeability). This missing Table V is extremely important since it indicates worldwide number use (both immigrant visa issuance by DOS and adjustment of status approvals by USCIS), whereas Table VI only relates to number use by DOS.
Overseas posts issued 6,882 of the 13,591 unreserved EB-5 visa annual limit (just over 50%) in FY 2022. This was only about 1,000 less than the amount issued during FY 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that consulates could almost be back to normal operations. On the other hand, visas delays continue at all levels after a USCIS approval, including transferring the case to NVC and scheduling the consular interview.
Following enactment of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act, it appears from Table VI (Part IV) that DOS has indeed “reserved” 32% of EB-5 visas allocated in FY 2022 to investors in rural area, high unemployment areas, or infrastructure projects. None of these visa numbers were used in FY 2022, meaning they will “carryover” for use in the EB-5 visa categories in FY 2023.
The top 15 EB-5 country of chargeability for visas issued abroad in FY 2022 (not including any approved adjustment of status applicants) are as follows.
Interestingly, 2,296 of the 4,060 issued to China-mainland nationals were issued in September 2022, suggesting that the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou has capacity to issue more visas than it normally does (since then, it has only issued 75 in October 2022 and 229 in November 2022).
To learn more about the implications from this new data, register for our Chatting with Charlie webinars now!