U.S. to temporarily suspend premium processing of H-1B visas

Washington D.C. [United States], Marc. 4 (ANI): In a move which would have a big impact on IT companies located in United States that have large Indian employee component, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it will temporarily suspend premium processing of all H-1B petitions starting April 3.

According to a USCIS statement, the suspension may last up to six months.

"While H-1B premium processing is suspended, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for a Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker which requests the H-1B nonimmigrant classification. We will notify the public before resuming premium processing for H-1B petitions," the statement read.

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

The suspension will apply to all petitions filed for the FY18 H-1B regular cap and master's advanced degree cap exemption (the "master's cap") since FY18 cap-subject H-1B petitions cannot be filed before April 3.

"While premium processing is suspended, we will reject any Form I-907 filed with an H-1B petition. If the petitioner submits one combined check for both the Form I-907 and Form I-129 H-1B fees, we will have to reject both forms, the statement said.

However, petitioners can submit a request to expedite an H-1B petition if they meet the Expedite Criteria.

USCIS said this temporary suspension will help them to reduce overall H-1B processing times.

The department added that by temporarily suspending premium processing, they will be able to process long-pending petitions, which they have currently been unable to process due to the high volume of incoming petitions and the significant surge in premium processing requests over the past few years.

Earlier, Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar, presently on a U.S. visit, said they have conveyed to the new administration that Indian partnership is important for the growing American economy to stay competitive.

When asked about discussion held with the Trump administration over the H-1B visa issue, the Foreign Secretary said the issue was discussed in a number of meetings with administration officials as well as the Congress.

During the meetings, the Indian side conveyed that the H-1B was a category of trade and services which actually helps the American economy.

"If the Trump administration's intention is to bring back American companies to America and attract more foreign investment in America therefore there will be more growth then it is important that growing America remains competitive. So, there actually will be a growing need for this partnership," said Jaishankar during a conference held at the Indian Embassy in Washington D.C.

He added, "Of course in the U.S. context it is seen as part of an immigration basket but what I would remind you is that the president himself in his address to the Congress referred to a merit-based approach to this subject. (ANI)