USCIS Temporarily Suspends Premium Processing of H-1B Visa Petitions

first_imgAhead of the beginning of the H-1B visa filing season on April 2, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the suspension of premium processing of all H-1B petitions, which is subject to annual caps, March 20, PTI reported.The H-1B petition filing is for the fiscal year 2019 beginning Oct.1, 2018. While the suspension of premium processing is expected to last till Sept.10 this year, the USCIS said it will continue to accept premium processing requests for H-1B that are not subjected to the annual fiscal 2019 cap. Suspension only applies to H-1B petitions from for-profit companies.Even when premium processing is suspended, a petitioner can submit a request to expedite an FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petition if it meets the criteria. The criteria for acceptance of an Expedite request is on humanitarian grounds, or emergency, if it is of national interest (i.e Department of Defense), if  the request is made by a non-profit for furthering a cause that is of social or cultural interest to the United States, compelling for the USCIS and if it causes severe financial loss to the company or person.“We will notify the public before resuming premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions or making any other premium processing updates,” the agency said.The premium processing option is used by firms looking to fill the American positions quickly by paying an additional fee of $1,225.The federal agency had discussed the suspension in a teleconference on March 6 with National Stakeholder Engagement, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.According to the agency, the temporary suspension of premium processing will help cut down the overall H-1B processing time. With the temporary suspension, the USCIS said it is free to process the long pending petitions which it couldn’t process due to high volume of the incoming applications, as well as prioritize the H-1B extension status cases which are close to the 240-day mark. The agency said there has been a significant surge in the applications over the past few years.This is not the first time the premium processing has been suspended. In the last fiscal year 2018, USCIS had suspended the premium processing for six months in order to tackle the high volume of applications.The annual cap for H-1B visa is at 65,000 visas each fiscal year, with first 20,000 applications filed on behalf of people with a U.S master’s degree or higher are exempted from the limit. Other applications exempted from the limit are workers who are employed at an institution of higher education or its affiliated or related non-profit entities or a non-profit research organization or a government research organization.The USCIS received 2.2 million H-1B petitions from Indians between 2007 and 2017. China followed India, with 301,000 H-1B petitions in the same period. Related ItemsH-1B visaUnited StatesUSCISlast_img

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