OK – so the VB was released today and whilst some people are happy, many are finding the progress is not what they hoped. There is no doubt that this year was generally “over selected”. They selected nearly 116k people for 50k visas. They need to overselect to some extent (because many people don’t follow through with the win) but ideally they should select about 100k people. What that means is that some people will not be able to get interviews. We have known that for a long time – so even though we cannot be certain of the final cutoffs – at least people with high numbers can get themselves mentally prepared that they may not get the GC this year. If you want to read more about selectee numbers – read this article.
So – let’s review each region.
The progress up to this point has been about what it should be. There are four months remaining, and the important thing to know is that density will drop significantly for the next VB. So – although the pace may seem slow to some of you, it is about to get a bit faster for the remaining four months. This won’t be a surprise to anyone that has been paying attention to what I have said in the past and understood the density chart on this page.
Disregarding the two limited countries, the VB increased from 21100 to 24800 – a difference of 3700 case numbers. Because of holes that meant 2771 cases within that number spread (Remember this IGNORES the affect of limited countries – Egypt and Ethiopia). Now – because density drops, if KCC wanted to make say 2700 cases current next month, that would require the VB to increase to AF30000 – an increase of 5200 case numbers. And if the month after that they wanted to add another 2700 cases (ignoring holes and disregarding limited countries) that would require an increase to 35450. So – I am not predicting those as solid numbers – but it is more than reasonable to expect an increase in pace.
Furthermore, visas issued are slightly behind where I would expect at this point, so there are enough as to support this increased pace. For the final numbers I still say WAIT and SEE, but I see no reason why we can’t get to the numbers I previously discussed – which was mid 40’s.
Egypt and Ethiopia are still held back in the VB. That is normal, and it is due to the number of cases for those two countries. However, I am not able to guess the progress for those two countries. However there are FOUR months left – so please be patient.
Frankly it is NOT possible to predict AS progress. A HUGE number of AS selectees are affected by the travel ban. The challenge to the ban is being heard in late April, so it is possible (though not that likely) that the ban could be removed. If it is, I have no idea whether previously banned selectees would be given a chance, and if it isn’t removed I have no idea whether KCC will be able to re-allocate visas to non banned selectees. Really – I simply cannot guess what will happen. Please don’t ask me to guess – you are just going to get the “wait and see” answer.
OC is progressing exactly as expected – perhaps even a little faster than expected. . I still think numbers above 1400 have some risk – so I expect VB increases of about 100/150 a month and then the number will probably stop increasing in August (ish). I am CERTAIN the region cannot go current.
Similar to OC region – it’s progressing well, but as I have previously explained, there is risk for higher numbers. I am CERTAIN the region cannot go current.
This one needed to be left to the end. Of the three large regions it is the simplest in one sense (no limited countries), BUT things are VERY different this year to a normal year. As I have explained before – we have normally seen just two countries (Uzbekistan and Ukraine) that have been limited during the selection process. This happens when a country has a large amount of entries in the lottery. This year – three more countries achieve the maximum number of selectees – Russia, Turkey and Albania. This was a Sudden increase from one year to the next. In the case of Albania, there must have been at least 500k people participating in the lottery (as entrants or derivatives). That might not sound like a lot – but when you consider the population of the country is less than 3 million people, it is a HUGE NUMBER. This is clearly agent driven, so – that is bound to have an effect – but we won’t know exactly what effect until the year is over. For now we can only guess.
Now thanks to those people who are helping with the scraper, we do have some data to work with – so let’s explore that data.
According to the CEAC data, EU has had 8274 visas issued as of March 12. In addition there are 915 people on AP, and 5810 cases marked as ready.
Some (most in fact) of the AP cases will be approved later. AP processing seems slower this year than previous years, and additional security checks and measures are likely the reason for that.
Of the ready cases, they fall into three groups.
- No shows. These are cases that were scheduled, but the selectee did not show up for their interview. Some of those will reschedule – but many (most) won’t. So – if a case shows ready and it is under the number that could have been interviewed last month, it is most likely a no show. Of the 5810 ready cases, about 1800 to 2000 could be that scenario. However, that number seems high – so I don’t totally trust the number.
- Late updates. These cases have been interviewed, but the embassy have not updated the outcome yet.
- Future scheduled cases. Since cases are marked as ready a head of time we always have a large number of ready cases that are scheduled in the remainder of this month or next month. In addition, each month there are late submissions. These are people that did not submit their DS260 early, so they get scheduled in a month later than their “current” month.
So – it is not accurate to assume that all 5800+ ready cases will become issued – but we could easily assume that 3000 to 4000 of those people will get visas – leaving 6000 to 7000 visas for the final five months of processing. The May interviews are now being set, and as we know, the increase from 15950 to 18050 was low. In fact – that increase only made 1200 new cases current – nearly half of which will be non response cases. So – there has been a noticeable slowdown in scheduled interviews this month and last month (for April and May interviews). I don’t know the reason for that slowdown.
However, looking at the data I think it is looking increasingly likely that EU will have a cutoff lower than I previously hoped. I mentioned before that the risk zone starts as low as 33XXX – and that is still true – but as time goes on, unless pace increases we could see a number even lower than that – because the embassies cannot handle all the activity in the final month or two.
The other thing that is troubling to me is the low number of resolved cases in Uzbekistan. Given that all their cases are concentrated under 10700 – all were entitled to interviews by February. Uzebekistan gets a high success rate (selectee to visas issued) – so by now I would expect to see 2500 to 3000 visas issued in Uzbekistan. However, the actual number is about half that expected range – so – I am not sure why that number is low.
There is a lot of data, and it is hard/impossible to predict the progress over the coming months. I have been saying we need to wait and see. That is sensible advice. This year is going to be hard to predict. So really – although everyone is sick of hearing these words, the wisest decision is to WAIT and SEE!