US resumes faster processing of H-1B visas popular with Indians

US resumes faster processing of H-1B visas popular with Indians

H1-B visas are used by US companies to employ graduate-level professionals in specialised areas.

The Dollar Business Bureau

The US government on Monday announced that it would resume faster processing of the H-1B visas, used by highly skilled foreign workers in categories exempted from the limit mandated by the US Congress, which are mostly requested by higher education institutions and scientific research organisations.

“US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will resume premium processing for certain cap-exempt H-1B petitions effective immediately,” an official statement read.

President Donald Trump, in his election campaign, promised to put a curb on immigrants claiming that they were taking jobs from American citizens. In April, he also signed an executive order for tightening the rules and called for a review of the programme to stop visa abuse. The H1-B visa allows foreign nationals, having certain skills, to temporarily work in the US.

Trump had said that his government is going to put in force ‘Hire American’ rule in order to protect the jobs and wages of Americans.

The H1-B visa programme, popular with Indian techies, is often used by the US companies to employ graduate-level professionals in various specialised areas, including information technology (IT), engineering, medicine, and mathematics.

Currently, the H-1B programme has a ceiling of 65,000 visas in each financial year. In addition, there is a yearly “master cap” of 20,000 visas, allowed for applicants having a master’s degree or higher in the US.

USCIS said that the premium processing will be resumed for applications that are exempted from the cap if the petitioner for H-1B visa is a higher education institution, a non-profit organisation affiliated or related with a higher education institution, or a non-profit research or governmental organisation.

“Premium processing will also resume for petitions that may also be exempt if the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap-exempt institution, organisation or entity,” the USCIS declared in a statement.

The USCIS, earlier announced that it has resumed the premium processing on June 26 for H1-B applications filed on behalf of physicians, who are working under a specific waiver programme.

The agency has said that suspension of premium processing was essential to reduce the backlog of long-pending applications for H1-B visa and thus reducing overall processing time for the petitions.

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The Dollar Business Bureau - Jul 25, 2017 12:00 IST