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USA to temporarily suspend premium processing of H1-B visas

05 March 2017

Foreigners aiming for temporary jobs at high-tech US companies will undergo a longer visa approval process after the Trump administration announced it will temporarily suspend expedited applications for H-1B visas. Although the suspension will be in force for six months from April 3, the IT industry feels that the impact will last an entire year.

H-1B visas, often referred to as high-skilled visas, let US companies temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. The USCIS said in a March 3 press release that it will notify the public before resuming premium processing for H-1B petitions.

Staying true to United States President Donald Trump's administration vows to crack down hard on H1-B visas, the authorities on late Friday announced that they will temporarily suspend premium processing for all the H1-B visa petitions.The move is set to particularly restrict foreign engineers from working in the US.

The temporary suspension applies to all H-1B petitions filed on or after April 3, 2017.

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Although Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's tech lobbying group FWD.us has sought an expansion of the H1-B visa program, United States senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) sent a letter to Trump administration on Friday morning asking the president to deliver on his campaign promise to crack down on H-1B visas. The suspension also applies to petitions that may be cap-exempt. It also said it will now, "Prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240 day mark". Indians have also been awarded the highest number of H-1B visas among all nationalities in the USA, all along since the program came into existence in 1990. "If the petitioner submits one combined check for both Form I-907 and Form I-129 H-1B fees, we will have to reject both forms", said the statement.

According to immigration services, the suspension was implemented to reduce overall H-1B processing times by allowing the department to use the six-month period to review and process long-pending petitions.

It has, however, listed out certain criteria's which, if met, can be used to request for expedition.

While premium processing is suspended, petitioners may submit a request to expedite an H-1B petition if they meet the criteria.

USA to temporarily suspend premium processing of H1-B visas