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Premium visa suspension to hit IT sector

Foreigners aiming for temporary jobs at high-tech USA companies will undergo a longer visa approval process after the Trump administration announced it will temporarily suspend expedited applications for H-1B visas.

Since FY18 cap-subject H-1B petitions can not be filed before April 3 this year, this suspension will apply to all petitions filed for the FY18 H-1B regular cap and master's advanced degree cap exemption. Dick Durbin, who claim it is being abused to replace USA workers with low-priced outsourced labor. The decision would affect all petitions filed on or after April 3, 2017.

Under the H-1B and L1 Visa Reform, the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would have additional oversight authority to investigate fraud and abuse as well as to increase penalties for companies that violate the bill's requirements.

New Delhi, Mar 5 Industry body nasscom today said that US' decision to temporarily suspend the expedited premium processing of H-1B visas will lead to process delays for Indian IT firms too. The bill calls for doubling the minimum salary of H-1B visa holders to $130,000. The USCIS uses a computer-generated process, also known as the lottery, to randomly select the petitions. "This has happened in the past for a couple of months to clear the backlog and we will work with the US Embassy in India to enable mobility of skilled talent is not impacted due to process issues", Nasscom said. It also said it will now, "Prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240 day mark".

Apparently, the reason for this temporary suspension is to "process long-pending petitions".

However, immigration attorney Jason Finkelman said the wait time for an H-1B visa in California is now eight months, and that the delay "has everything to do with an understaffed, overworked U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services". After India, the countries that benefit most are Canada, China, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and France. Americans are unable to vie for the positions offered through H-1B visas-a point critics are trying to resolve through new legislation.

While premium processing is suspended, petitioners can still submit a request to expedite an H-1B petition if they meet the criteria on the Expedite Criteria webpage.

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