H-1B Visa Premium Processing Resumes and No Work Permits for Spouses

H-1B Visa Premium Processing Resumes and No Work Permits for Spouses

Last week, all H-1B applications which were filed on 21 December 2018 and before, were processed in a fast rate after the suspension of fresh applications last April.

Late in January, an announcement was made by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on the resumption of the processing of applications which were filed since April 2018 for the visa lottery in 2019. This processing is expected to go through a fast rate within 15 days.

Also, in mid-February, USCIS gave room for an extension of this service in order to include the H-1B applications which were filed on or before December 21, 2018. However, it is still unclear if application after 21 December will be processed.

Peter Bendor-Samuel, the CEO of Everest Group, told the Business Standard that the benefits of the development are beyond reinstating the H-1B applications which have been accelerated, it also goes to show the administration’s stance for a policy change regarding skilled immigration. This also signals benefits for Indian firms as well.

This fast process enables the approval of visas in 15 days, rather than taking months as usual.

H-1B visa

This H-1B visa programme is popularly used by companies in the US to hire international students or international – born workers with a bachelor’s degree or another higher degree and specialist knowledge. This visa has six years validation after which renewal is obtainable if the holder is applying for US permanent residency.

The visas are capped by the Congress to be 65,000 yearly in addition to the 20,000 H-1B visas yearly for foreign students with graduate degrees from an institution in the US.

However, the foreign students with graduate degrees in US institutions will now be given more priority, due to a new rule by the Homeland Security department.

The Spouses are not permitted

The visa programme has passed through a lot of restrictions under the present administration. Also, rules have used to tighten the program further. But while the restoration of the fast processing offers respite to H-1B visa applicants, their spouses future is grim when compared.

According to Bloomberg Law, the proposed regulation by the USCIS to put an end to the programme that allows spouses of H-1B workers’ who have been approved for green cards, to work legally in the US, has been completed. The proposal for the termination and elimination of these work permits known as EAD (Employer Authorization Documents) has been sent to the Office of Management and Budget in the White House for review, processing, and publishing.

This new development will affect about 90,000 foreigners, mostly Indians.

According to an email sent to Bloomberg Law, Anthony Harrison, Facebook Inc. A spokesman said the proposal for the termination is very disappointing because the H-4 visa holders are in the country legally, but their right to work has been paralyzed.

This move is seen as one which could trap the country’s economic growth and innovation.

Mr. Francine Katsoudas, the Cisco Executive Vice president and Chief People officer, expressed his disappointment at the H-4EAD programmed elimination and also called for the support and protection of employees who are foreign-born and their relatives.

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