News Worms
News Worms

U.S. to temporarily suspend premium processing of H-1B from April 3

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that the "premium processing" service for all H-1B petitions shall be restricted temporarily, starting April 3, 2017. "We will notify the public before resuming premium processing for H-1B petitions", states a press release put out by the USCIS.

The visa allows companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require the theoretical or practical application of "highly specialized knowledge, including but not limited to scientists, engineers, or computer programmers".

"This temporary suspension will help us to reduce overall H-1B processing time", the USCIS said. Under norma procedures, H-1B petitions take between three and six months to get a judgement, according to The Verge. Before this rule was passed, the company was allowed to file an application to expedite the processing of that petition, after paying an additional fee of $1,225, thus ensuring a response from the USCIS within 15 days, rather than the three to six months they normally take. The decision comes hours after Indian foreign secretaries S Jaishankar and Commerce Secretary Rita Teotia urged Trump cabinet lawmakers and decision makers to view H1B visa issue from Trade perspective and not from immigration perspective.

The US market contributes about 60 per cent of the export revenue for the Indian software sector, led by TCS, Infosys, Wipro, HCL and others. A total of 85,000 H-1B visas are issued each year. It reasoned out the move by stated that USCIS will be able to process long-pending petitions which it has been unable to process due to large number of incoming petitions.

H-1B visas are particularly used by the tech industry, and Silicon Valley companies will likely be hit by the change. It also said it will now, "Prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240 day mark".

However, it will continue to premium process Form I-129 H-1B petitions if the petitioner properly filed an associated Form I-907 before April 3. Americans are unable to vie for the positions offered through H-1B visas-a point critics are trying to resolve through new legislation.

He added that uncertainties surrounding visas is emerging as a risk and may gradually become an inhibitor of growth for US-based customers who look at this as more of a threat and tend to move their business to US-based IT companies.


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