Visa Priority Date Retrogression
Every year Congress set limits, by country, on the number of visas that are available for family and work immigration based upon Country of Chargeability factors. This creates cutoff dates for visa issuance, by class of visa and by country. The petitions are handled by the USCIS based upon the priority date of their submission. Generally, this is the filing date or the date when a Labor Certification (for those employment applications requiring a Labor Certification) is filed.
For many countries such as China, India, Mexico and the Philippines, it is common for more applications to be filed than there are visas available. Consequently, the processing system gets backlogged more each month. The wait for new visas keeps getting longer. To try and remove this congestion, the USCIS has introduced Backlog Reduction Programs to try and ease this backlog.
The problem is, as the catch up continues more old visa petitions are processed toward the final stage of obtaining the visa which in some cases actually makes the priority cutoff date that is currently available for a visa, actually, stand still for months or even go backwards. This is Retrogression. Eventually, it will all sort out but for many immigrants from certain countries the wait can be many, many years and the process is not worth the wait or a petitioner may die before being finally processed. Again, remember, "with immigration, nothing is as simple as it first appears.℠"