(Image source from: Deccanchronicle.com)
US Resumes Premium Processing Of H-1B Visas:- Months after the H-1B work visas was suspended temporarily to handle the huge rush of applications for the work visas popular among Indian IT professionals, the US has resumed premium processing of the H-1B visas.
To handle the huge rush of new petitions, the premium processing of H-1B visa was suspended in April. Some categories of the H-1B visas were opened up by the country in September, for fast processing.
“Premium processing is now available for all types of H-1B petitions,” US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said on Tuesday.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa. Under this, foreign workers are employed by the US companies in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year.
A maximum of 65,000 H-1B visas and 20,000 to those who have earned higher education in STEM subjects from a US higher educational institution, can be issued by USCIS every year, as mandated by the Congress. The Congressional mandated limit exempts H-1B visas to several categories like those in academic and research institutes.
A 15-calendar day processing time is guaranteed by USCIS, when a petitioner requests the agency’s premium processing service. The petitioner’s premium processing fee will be refunded by the agency, if that time is not met and continue with expedited processing of application.
Meanwhile, Kenneth Juster, nominee for US Ambassador to India, during his confirmation hearing said that, “H-1B visa has been an important part of the India-US relationship and there is a consensus that it should be corrected to high quality jobs.”
“I think there is a consensus that it (H-1B) should be corrected to high quality jobs. I think that message from my understanding is being heard in India as well in the United States,” Juster told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“However, actual details on what will be the final policy on H-1B remains to be determined. So I’m not really in a position to represent the administration on where they are,” Juster said when asked about his position on H-1B visas by Senator Chris Coons.
The H-1B visa policy is currently being reviewed by the Trump administration, as it thinks that the visa is being misused by companies to replace American workers. The visa issue was raised by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, when the two leaders met in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month.