The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services agency, USICS, has announced that starting April 3, 2017, all H1B Premium Processing Applications will be suspended. However, it’s not clear until when the process will be suspended. It is likely that the suspension would remain in force for another six months.
This news has come as a panic to many F1-OPT Students and H1B applicants, as some of them are mistakenly considering it as a suspension of the H1B programme itself.
Contrary to this, USICS has clearly mentioned that this is a suspension on the “premium processing” of the programme and not the actual application itself.
So what does the USICS H1B Premium Suspension actually mean?
H1B applications are generally done using the USICS designated form I-129. This is a petition form for the application for the H1-B visa, which as you know, is done through a lottery process in the recent years.
Sometimes, companies want to expedite the results of the H1B lottery which can take up to October as the results are randomly dispatched to thousands of applicants. This is done through H1B premium processing programme, which is nothing but delivering the results in about 20 days from the lottery. Contrary to what some may believe, the premium programme does not increase one’s chances for the lottery.
The application for the premium processing is done through form I-907 which comes with an application fee of $1225.
With this announcement, USICS has made it clear that for the applications of year 20 17-2018 premium processing is no longer possible. This is a temporary suspension.
Why is this ban being enforced?
According to the USICS website, the suspension has been put into place to prioritise the processing of applications that need expedition, meaning those that are nearing their 240-day mark.
In the long run, this step will actually help process individual applications faster.
Who is likely to be affected?
Due to this suspension, the potential hit will be taken by large outsourcing companies from India like TCS, Infosys and others, which place petitions for thousands of applications for the H1B visa every year.
This ban does not affect potential students or those who are on their F1 OPT.