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Suspension on expedited H-1B visa to affect IT cos: Nasscom

Suspension on expedited H-1B visa to affect IT cos: Nasscom

The United States now caps H-1B visas at 65,000 a year, with an additional 20,000 allowed for those who have earned advanced college degrees in the United States. While it is unclear up to when this suspension will continue, the USCIS indicated that it would hold for at least six months.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a temporary suspension of its premium processing for all H1-B visas starting April 3. By temporarily suspending premium processing, the department will be able to process long-pending petitions, which have now remained unprocessed due to the high volume of incoming petitions, and the significant surge in premium processing requests over the past few years; and prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240- day mark, the notice said.

The H-1B non-immigrant visa allows USA companies to employ graduate-level workers in several specialized fields, including information technology, medicine, engineering and mathematics.

USCIS further explained that the current suspension applies to all the H-1B petitions including regular cap, master's advanced degree cap exemption and to the petitions that may be cap-exempt. And some top American companies and Indian outsourcing companies are among the largest users of this category of skilled worker visas.

The USCIS decision will affect H-1B visa for FY18 as these can not be filed before 3 April.

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In a press release posted on Friday, USCIS stated that the temporary suspension will help the administration "reduce overall H1-B processing times". By temporarily suspending premium processing, the agency said it will be able to process long-pending petitions, which it has now been unable to process due to the high volume of incoming petitions and the significant surge in premium processing requests over the past few years.

Apart from this, a private member's Bill was introduced in the US Congress last month, which proposed to double the minimum wages of H-1B visa holders that could in turn significantly increase costs for IT companies.

The agency warned it will suspend any For I-907 forms filed while premium processing is suspended, .

The statement said that due to the surge in H-1B petitions, USCIS made a decision to temporarily halt the premium processing service.

Reports state that the suspension will come into affect on April 3, the day when all the applications open.


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