A Decision for clearing backlog
The authorities in US have extended the temporary suspension regarding the premium processing of H1-B visas that are popular in Indian IT circles, for clearing the existing backlog. Such processing reduces the normal processing time of H-1B visa petitions which earlier was six months to just 15 days. There is a fee of USD 1,225. It normally helps the companies, to stay ahead in the queue.
The verdict regarding the suspension, by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, will last until 19th February 2019. The extending of the suspension for all H-1B petitions subject to cap will begin from September 11, and include a few fresh H1-B petitions.
Long term decision
In this type of processing, the USCIS is responsible for responding to the H1-B visa candidates in 15 days. It had stated in March 2018, regarding temporarily suspending the process of processing, for all FY 2019 petitions. It had included petitions that seek such exemptions for US degree holders of master's or higher.
The statement of USCIS, says that this measure, will help in reducing the total processing times. It will also allow the body, for taking up the processing of long-standing petitions, which it was unable to do, because of the huge volume of inflow, and premium processing requests, during the last few months. Moreover, it will also permit, them to respond to petitions that are time-sensitive, and prioritize cases involving adjudication and extension of status, close to the 240-day period. The aim of all H-1B non-immigrant petitions is to allow the applicant, to seek admission for three years. Incidentally, the time can be extended, but it cannot go beyond six years.
The rules governing the visa
The H1-B visa has the cap of 65,000 in each fiscal year, as per the mandate of the Congress. Initially, 20,000 petitions that are submitted for beneficiaries, holding a US master's or higher degree, get an exemption. All such workers, who put in petition for, or get an employment, in a centre of higher education, or even in its affiliated entities or nonprofit research organizations, or in governmental research organizations, do not have to face the numerical cap.
USCIS also says that in the ten years from 2007 to 2017, there were 2.2 million H1-B petitions from Indian nationals.