H-1B visa applications' premium processing facility blocked, temporarily

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This latest move could further impede the operations of not only Indian IT companies but also the US MNCs, which depend on these H-1B visas for the execution of projects. This suspension may last up to 6 months.

Under the current system, a company that is sponsoring a potential employee or the current employee's H-1B petition may fill out a form to expedite the processing of that petition, the Verge reported.

Now till the H-1B premium processing is suspended, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907.

USCIS claims the measure is necessary to work through a backlog of applications, but this explanation confuses some, who point out that faster processing was cited as a reason for the premium option in the first place.

Petitioners will still have the opportunity to expedite their H-1B petition during the suspension if they meet the qualifications that include humanitarian crises or emergency situations.

Indian IT companies like TCS, Infosys and Wipro are the largest recipients of H-1B visas, which are capped at 65,000 annually. "This temporary suspension will help us to reduce overall H-1B processing times", it said. It will also be able to prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240 day mark.

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The pending petitions, which they have 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 will be processed.

However, it will continue to premium process Form I-129 H-1B petitions if the petitioner properly filed an associated Form I-907 before April 3. Before this rule was passed, the company was allowed to file an application to expedite the processing of that petition, after paying an additional fee of $1,225, thus ensuring a response from the USCIS within 15 days, rather than the three to six months they normally take.

This temporary suspension of premium processing does not apply to other eligible nonimmigrant classifications filed on Form I-129.

However, if petitioners what to request for expedited processing they could submit a request.

It has, however, listed out certain criteria's which, if met, can be used to request for expedition.