The measure, according to the government, is due to the high number of applications accumulated in recent years, and that in some cases delays exceed 240 days.
The US government announced Friday that it will temporarily suspend priority processing of H-1B visa petitions for foreign professionals. “This suspension can last up to six months,” the Office of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said in a statement.
“As long as priority processing of H-1B petitions is suspended, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907,” an essential requirement to handle the document, he adds.
Form I-907 is to ask the USCIS to prioritize the processing of the I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker in exchange for payment of an additional fee.
USCIS said the temporary suspension of the priority processing program “will help reduce the total processing time of H-1B requests” while allowing it to process requests that have been pending for a long time due to the high volume of requests. Applications.
He added that he will also be able to prioritize the award of H-1B status extension cases that are close to reaching the 240-day limit.
H1B visas to become harder to get as Donald Trump starts the crackdown.
Who will affect
The federal agency said the temporary suspension applies to all requests for H-1B visas filed on or after April 3, 2017, when the window for the receipt of applications for the 2018 fiscal year visa quota is opened.
The measure will impact not only regular H-1B visa applications but also foreign graduates with a master’s degree obtained from a US university, as well as petitions that are exempt from the annual fee.
USCIS has warned that it will reject all Forms I-907 submitted after April 3, as well as checks sent in conjunction with I-129 petitions (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) combined with Form I-907.
As for the I-907 forms submitted and received before April 3, USCIS said that “we will continue the priority prosecution” of those cases.
USCIS has ensured that temporary suspension of H-1B expedited procedures will not affect “other eligible nonimmigrant classifications filed through Form I-129.” And although priority processing is suspended, normal procedures remain in effect if they meet the criteria of the H-1B visa program.
In April 2016 the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) said that the H-1B visa program should not remain “limited” and asked Congress to adjust it to market demand taking into account business needs.
“When demand is greater than supply, all we are doing is creating obstacles to economic growth,” the entity warned.
He also called on the legislature on that occasion to reform the program “in a way that responds to the needs of US companies, US workers, and our economy.”
A year later, on February 2, Univision News reported that an internal White House document proposes that President Donald Trump reviews all regulations allowing foreigners to work in the United States, including the H-1B visa program.
The filtered recommendation, dated January 23, is accompanied by a proposed executive order entitled ‘Job Protection for Americans by Strengthening the Integrity of Visa Programs for Foreign Workers.’
The possible executive order offers a 90-day deadline for the DHS secretary to “review all regulations authorizing foreigners to work in the US,” and determine which immigration laws are against the national interest, so that Are eliminated.
In fact, the memorandum accompanying the proposed decree links immigration with the loss of jobs or salary power of some US workers.
If approved, the DHS chief would also have 18 months to file a report that states “any kind of harm done to US workers by employing foreign workers admitted under current visa programs.”
Who uses the H-1B
The H-1B visa is used mainly by high-tech industry employees and is intended for international professionals with a university degree who perform specialized work requiring theoretical or technical knowledge.
The list of professionals includes scientists, engineers, journalists and computer programmers, among others.
Before the financial crisis of 2008, high-tech companies complained about this system and pointed out that the quota allocated by Congress was insufficient, to the point that between 2004 and 2007 the quota was exhausted within a few hours of opening the window for Receipt of applications.
In 2007 the window was open less than 24 hours. In 2016, on the fifth day of receipt of applications, the USCIS announced the closure of the window after the quota was exceeded.
During fiscal years 2001 to 2004, Congress authorized to extend the quota of 65,000 to 195,000 visas. But on September 30, 2004, this was reduced to the original amount of 65,000.
The quota was expanded in response to requests made by the American Information Technology Association (ITAA), among which are companies such as Microsoft, Oracle and Sun Microsystems.
But the same companies that lobbied Congress to increase the quota did not want to sponsor new applications for permits for foreign experts, one reason the legislature chose not to extend the temporary extension from 2005.
The H1B visa program was created by Congress in 1990.
At the end of 2004, Congress debated an additional 20,000 visas for foreign graduates or a master’s degree in the United States. The project came into force in 2005.
The expansion of the quota was made in response to requests from companies that require this type of permits.
In 2006 the companies of the sector went to the Senate and asked to include the H-1B visa in the debates on the immigration reform.
The H-1B visa program states that US employers must pay foreign workers the prevailing salary according to their field of work.
They must also demonstrate that qualified Americans are not being marginalized to hold the position or position they hold abroad.
The regulation requires that the foreign employee hired has at least a university degree or its equivalent.
On March 16, 2016, the USCIS had noted problems with expeditiously processing H-1B visa applications due to the receipt of “historic levels” of applications.