After premium processing of H-1B visas was temporarily suspended because of a large number of applications for work visas, the US is now resuming it.
The H-1B visa is a work visa intended to allow companies in the US to employ foreigners in certain occupations that demand specific expertise.Technology companies are especially dependent on this visa, which enables them to hire tens of thousands of employees every year, a majority of them located in India.
What Premium Processing of H-1B Visas Entails
Indian companies are the ones impacted most by H-1B premium processing. Also known in India as the “Tatkaal” visa, applications for the H-1B can undergo fast processing within 15 days for no more than $1,225 when in most cases an application requires a processing period of three to six months.
However, if an H-1B application fails to go through within the 15-day period, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will refund the fee for premium processing while continuing to process the application.
The larger number of applications for H-1B visas ultimately resulted in a temporary suspension in March. The USCIS stated that the amount of long-standing petitions would require the suspension period to last up to six months.
Why Premium Processing is Needed
The fast processing of H-1B visas is vital to Indian IT companies, which require this because of the frequent demand for a quick response to IT requests from US companies.
As a result of the suspension, Indian IT professionals expected a compromise to onsite deployment. Companies in India had to determine how to more efficiently provide onsite staff, as the suspension would result in a longer waiting period for employees to be able to visit their clients’ locations.
Currently, the US issues as many as 65,000 H-1B visas and permits an additional 20,000 for employees who possess a US master’s degree from accredited institutions. The USCIS has implemented a random “lottery” process to choose the petitions.
Enabling Foreigners to Work with Convenience
The resumption of premium processing for H-1B visa applications will ultimately make it easier for workers overseas to continue providing services for US companies. Rather than extensive waiting periods and other inconveniences regarding onsite deployment, expedited processing will result in a more streamlined process for Indian IT companies and others that rely on it.