US Suspends Fast Approval Of H-1B Visas

US Suspends Fast Approval Of H-1B Visas

USA

The US is temporarily suspending expedited processing of H-1B visas, eliminating the option of shorter wait times for the program that helps highly skilled foreigners work at US companies.

USCIS charges a $1,225 premium processing fee per application and guarantees a response within 15 days. According to the release, the department claims to want to "process long-pending petitions, which we have now been unable to process due to the high volume of incoming petitions and the significant surge in premium processing requests over the past few years; and prioritise adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240 day mark".

The suspension goes into effect on April 3 and may last up to six months, according to the Department of Homeland Security's website. Experts believe the move would slow down onsite deployment of skilled professionals from India. The impact will call for a lot more forward planning for companies.

The United States now caps H-1B visas at 65,000 a year, with an additional 20,000 allowed for those who have earned advanced college degrees in the United States.

This temporary suspension of premium processing does not apply to other eligible nonimmigrant classifications filed on Form I-129.

However, Nasscom feels that the move will not be a "significant impediment" for the over $110 billion outsourcing industry.

US President Donald Trump has said he wants to change the visa issuing process so that Americans get preference in filling jobs. By temporarily suspending premium processing, the department will be able to process long-pending petitions, which have now remained unprocessed due to the high volume of incoming petitions, and the significant surge in premium processing requests over the past few years; and prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240- day mark, the notice said. An industry analyst who did not wish to be named, however, said TCS had in the past told investors that it files very few such applications. Otherwise, the H-1B waiting period could be several months. The USCIS cited the huge backlog of H-1B applications for suspending the premium services.

The H-1B non-immigrant visa allows US companies to employ graduate-level workers in several specialized fields, including information technology, medicine, engineering and mathematics.

  • Jack Replman