The move on H-1B visas, popular among Indian IT professionals, will impact all petitions of this category subject to the annual caps.
The United States this week decided to suspend premium processing of H-1B visas petitions for fiscal year 2019. The H-1B visa is popular among Indian IT professionals. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said the temporary suspension will help it “reduce overall H-1B processing times”. The move will impact all H-1B petitions subject to the annual caps. However, US immigration agency, said it will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the fiscal year 2019 cap from April 2, 2018.
Here are 10 things to know about the latest announcement by the USCIS on H-1B visa petitions:
- “We will temporarily suspend premium processing for all FY 2019 cap-subject petitions, including petitions seeking an exemption for individuals with a US master’s degree or higher,” the USCIS said in a statement released on March 20, 2018.
- The suspension of premium processing of H-1B visa petitions is expected to last until September 10, 2018, said USCIS.
- During this time, the USCIS will continue to accept premium processing requests for H-1B petitions that are not subject to the FY 2019 cap. (Also read:
New H-1B visa norms won’t make much difference: Nasscom)
- The US government had earlier notified an annual cap of for the H-1B visa category at 65,000. Not all H-1B non-immigrant visas are subject to this annual cap, the agency states on its website.
- The H-1B petition filing is for the fiscal year 2019 beginning October 1, 2018., USCIS said.
- During the temporary suspension of H-1B visa petitions, the US will reject “any Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, filed with an FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petition. If a petitioner submits one combined check for the fees for Form I-907 and Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, we will reject both forms.”
- While Form I-907 is used for request of premium processing service, Form I-129 is used by petitioners filing on behalf of a non-immigrant worker to go to the US temporarily to perform services or labour, or to receive training.
- The USCIS said that during temporary suspension of premium processing, a petitioner may submit a request to expedite an FY 2019 cap-subject to H-1B petition if he or she meets the expedite criteria.
- H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries including India and China. H-1B specialty occupations may include fields such as science, engineering and information technology, according to the USCIS.
- The US agency also said that by temporarily suspending premium processing, it will be able to process long-pending petitions.