USCIS Resumes the Premium Processing for H-1B applications

March 14, 2019
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have begun the premium processing in respect of all H-1B petitions. This translates to a guaranteed processing time covering 15 days. In the other scenario, it will refund the premium processing fee to the petitioner.

USCIS Resumes the Premium Processing for H-1B applications

The reasons

USCIS has re-opened the premium processing. Earlier it was suspended in 2017. The agency re-opened it in February, for the petitions which were filed prior to Dec. 21, 2018.  Furthermore, owing to the suspension it was difficult for petitioners to get H-1B visas. There was great difficulty for the H-1B visa holders to move in jobs or to new company offices. USCIS made the claim that the suspension was necessary for processing the huge backlog of petitions. Moreover, there was an additional dimension because it worsened the situation of the companies that depend on its processing for meeting their staff requirements. Furthermore, consulting and outsourcing companies have filed around 40 lawsuits against the government on the issue of the H-1B program. Also, these firms claimed that USCIS was denying H-1B applications in an aggressive way.

The response

In response to these developments, USCIS forcefully insisted that it has the authority to set up time limits on the visas. The H-1B petition can be approved for three years; USCIS has the discretion, to put a limit to the approval period on the length of time showing that the beneficiary will get a placement in non-speculative work. Additionally, the petitioner has to maintain the necessary employer-employee relationship, as recognized by contracts, work statements and also other evidence.

As per the USCIS data, the number of H-1B applications affected by the Request for Evidence increased in the first quarter of 2019. Moreover, the approvals of applications (completed) affected by the RFE decreased considerably on a yearly basis. Some companies are likely to face extra scrutiny. The professionals in technology say that they are seeing the harmful effects of the changes in the immigration policy of the administration.


Finally, these policies discourage professionals from applying to US jobs. Some of them were unable to obtain a visa for working in the country.
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