Washington, March 17: The concerns of Indian Nationals seeking H1B visa for the United States has generally increased. Notably, the US on Friday temporarily suspended premium processing of H1B visas to handle the huge rush of applications for the work visas in the first week of April.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) acting Director, Lori Scialabba, today told members of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management efficiency that US will start accepting applications for H-1B work visas from April 3 for fiscal 2018.
During the suspension of H1B visas, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker which requests the H-1B nonimmigrant classification. While premium processing is suspended any Form I-907 filed with an H-1B petition will be rejected. If the petitioner submits one combined check for both the Form I-907 and Form I-129 H-1B fees, both forms will be rejected.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in a statement said, “H-1B petitioners must follow all statutory and regulatory requirements as they prepare petitions to avoid delays in processing and possible requests for evidence. The filing fee for Form I-129 has increased to $460, and petitioners no longer have 14 days to correct a dishonored payment. If any fee payments are not honored by the bank or financial institution, USCIS will reject the entire H-1B petition without the option for the petitioner to correct it.”
Meanwhile, Lori Scialabba, USCIS acting director said, "The (H-1B) program is not suspended. We suspend premium processing, which means we would have to process the application in 15 days." She further clarified, “The US will start accepting applications for H-1B work visas from April 3 for fiscal 2018.”
Responding to questions from lawmakers, Scialabba said in the first week of April USCIS receives 200,000 or more H-1B applications. "We're unable to process that premium processing, we can't process cases in 15 days when we get 200,000 in a week. It's only suspended temporarily," she said. "Once we lift the suspension, people are able to file for premium processing and we will process their application within 15 days," she added.
Importantly, an H1B visa which is the most popular among Indian IT firms and professionals. The H-1B program allows companies in the United States to temporarily employ foreign workers in occupations that require the application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty, or its equivalent. H-1B specialty occupations may include fields such as science, engineering and information technology. Interestingly, suspension of the premium processing was being done in previous years too.
However, the United States has given the information about this suspension in the second week of March 2017 said the temporary ban is implemented only to handle the huge rush of applications for the work visas in the first week of April and will be suspended up to six months.
The US officials have given the reason of huge rush but the things are not simple. Because Trump administration earlier intended to suspend the H1B visa so that the Americans could get more of the jobs. However, the diplomatic relations maintained by Indian government led a pressure on Trump administration to rethink the policies of H1B visas. So, US may have found a new way to block Indians to visit US and work.