H-1B Premium Processing Suspension Extended Through 2019

The Trump administration is tightening H-1B visa rules even more.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced an extension to its temporary suspension of premium processing for H-1B petitions. The extension, which kicked in Sept. 11, will run through February 19, 2019.

“While H-1B premium processing is suspended, we will reject any Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service filed with an affected Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker,” reads a note on the USCIS website. “If a petitioner submits one combined check for the Form I-907 and Form I‑129 H-1B fees, both forms will be rejected.”

For those who don’t follow the minutiae of the visa system very closely, such “premium processing” allows people (often companies acting on behalf of an applicant) to speed up the review of a petition. The extension will make it difficult for H-1B holders to quickly jump jobs or move to a new company office.

“The expanded temporary suspension applies to all H-1B petitions filed at the Vermont and California Service Centers (excluding cap-exempt filings as noted below),” added the USCIS note.

USCIS initially claimed that the suspension, announced in March 2017, would give it space to clear through a huge backlog of petitions and “prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240 day mark.” At the time, however, some critics saw an ulterior motive in the decision.

“I think that removing premium processing may allow the administration to pick who to prioritize in the wait times for H-1B visas,” Neil Ruiz, executive director of the Center for Law, Economics and Finance at George Washington University, told CNN at the time.

Many companies claim that the visa allows them to hire workers otherwise unobtainable, but many workers (and more than a few pundits) assert that the system is routinely abused to displace American employees in favor of cheaper labor. During the 2016 campaign season, then-candidate Donald Trump hinted that he would gut the H-1B program. “We shouldn’t have it, it’s very, very bad for workers,” he said. “It’s unfair to our workers and we should end it.”

Although some expected, based on those words, that President Trump would initiate a major overhaul of the visa system, changes have been largely incremental, and big tech companies actually used more H-1Bs between 2016 and 2017.

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5 Responses to “H-1B Premium Processing Suspension Extended Through 2019”

  1. There are a lot of Indian nationals who are under H1B and with their spouse under H4 EAD that are out of status and later on they changed to OPT or J1 student visa and continued to work on “client’s location” this is a loophole in the policies that are abused. They are causing the disruption in the job market condition from the Department of Labor which are initially allocated only to “high-skilled” workers category who initially awarded as H1 primary workers with the original allocation of the job. Please review and audit the whereabouts of these non-immigrant workers.

    • Thats the problem… Americans dont like working their butt off in obtaining STEM degrees! This wouldnt have happened if we encouraged the sciences in our schools, and didnt make higher education so prohibitively expensive.

      All said an done, the Asians study science from their high school, and are practically funding the American University system. I have an intern whose parents from India are funding his and his sibling STEM degrees in the US from top universities by paying close to $100k in fee and stay.

      I was on your side first, but when i see that kid work his butt off everyday, his intelligence and the fact that his family paid for his degree in STEM that most American kids dont have, it not rocket science to guess who should get the job.

      The job goes to the smart one. This isnt a free for all that one with liberal arts will magically start coding.

  2. The STEM grads who come out of schools and work directly for Google or Amazon is not the issue. The main issue is hordes of non-qualified H1s and their H4EAD spouces simply take some QA or QC or PMP training in Santa Clara and work for 3rd party vendors who have Siphoning system into big blanket projects held by Wipro, InfoSh***, HCL, TCS etc. Both husband and wife are ready to work for $45/hr each and netting $90/hr take home pay together. Even an American or qualified individual Citizen is ready to work for $80/hr standard rates for high skills, these Vendor companies do not even want to Deal with them since they loose their margins. BASICALLY ,GET RID OF ALL 3RD PARTY VENDOR COMPANIES SIPHONING 3-4 LAYERS OF CANDIDATES TO IT SERVICE PROVIDERS. IN FACT, DHS should investigate ALL the Recruiters who are based in India and themselves do NOT have a work permit. They have systematically replaced ALL THE American based Recruiting Industry. This itself is a violation by these 3rd party vendor companies. get rid of the Vendor Companies and verify the Employment Status of All Recruiters. They need to have a Work Permit to begin with!