Abolition of H-1B premium processing: Students face difficulties

September 08, 2018
Adverse impact on H-1B workers

Recently, US Citizenship and Immigration Services made a move and suspended premium processing for H-1B applications. This measure will adversely impact the cap gap global students. Additionally, it will obstruct the plans of employers to hire H-1B workers.

Moreover, in the absence of premium processing, there is an uncertainty, among immigrant workers. There is a possibility, that they cannot commence work in the US, from October 1. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, has requested US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, to assume a balanced view, regarding the changes in the H-1B visa.

Students seeking jobs blocked by H-1B premium processing

The H-1B visa allows many US companies, to hire overseas workers, in specialty occupations. Premium processing was suspended till September 10, 2018, but USCIS announced that the suspension will continue till February 19, 2019.

Benefits of premium processing 

The processing time of an H-1B application, is approximately more than six months, and owing to the premium processing, the sponsoring employers, were able to reduce the time to 15 days by paying a fee.

Global students have the eligibility for a 12-month Optional Practical Training, in which they can take up some work in USA. The students completing their studies in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), can further apply for extending an OPT by 24 months.

Moreover, Employers need to offer jobs, earlier than April 1 and file H-1B applications, in the first five days of April to get a claim, in the H-1B lottery. In case they are selected, the F-1 student, having an expired OPT after April 1, can continue to work, in the cap-gap status. In case the application is not processed, before October 1, the student has to stop to work, till he/she gains the H-1B approval.

H1B workers facing difficulties

The fact is that now both the employer, and the H1B worker, has to wait for six months. Furthermore, suspending the premium processing, permits the Trump administration to delay the proceedings. Without the cover of premium processing, many applications will remain pending, during 2019. There is a high possibility, of issuing the Request for Evidence. Finally, the students will have no job, no health insurance and no income in the future. They will face several difficulties in supporting themselves.
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