U.S. to temporarily suspend premium processing of H1-B visas

US suspends fast processing of H-1B visas workers will now have to wait months instead of weeks

Processing of standard H-1B applications - those that are not premium - takes between three to six months.

Former Nasscom chairman B.V.R Mohan Reddy said IT companies preferred premium processing because, for an extra Rs 60,000-Rs 80,000, the company and the employee had clarity about when the employee could start work.

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, 2017.

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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. The decision would affect all petitions filed on or after April 3, 2017.

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 H-1B visas are widely used by Indian IT majors. It will also further decrease the overall H-1B processing times.

Since FY18 cap-subject H-1B petitions can not be filed before April 3, 2017, this suspension will apply to all petitions filed for the FY18 H-1B regular cap and master's advanced degree cap exemption. The suspension also applies to petitions that may be cap-exempt.

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The statement said that due to the surge in H-1B petitions, USCIS chose to temporarily halt the premium processing service.

Premium processing costs an additional $1,225 and ensures a response from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services in 15 days or the fee is refunded.

This temporary suspension of premium processing does not apply to other eligible nonimmigrant classifications filed on Form I-129.

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USCIS said that during the suspension period, individuals still can request expedited consideration, but must meet certain criteria, such as humanitarian reasons, an emergency situation or the prospect of severe financial loss to a company or individual. The agency indicated petitioners had a better chance if hey submitted documentary evidence to support the expedite request.

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