COVID-19 Delaying H-1B Visa Processing

The COVID-19 pandemic is reportedly delaying processing of this year’s H-1B visas, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). (And that’s before President Trump institutes bigger restrictions on U.S. immigration, per his April 20 Tweet.)

“Beginning with the first day of filing, April 1, 2020, we will not immediately enter data for FY 2021 cap-subject petitions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and required health and safety protocols,” read the agency’s note. “Data entry and notice generation will be delayed until at least May 1, 2020.”

When data entry actually begins, USCIS will process petitions in the order they were received. “Petitions, if otherwise properly filed, will retain the receipt date that corresponds with the date the petition is received at the service center,” the note added.

Announcement of the delay comes after a record number of H-1B applications (275,000) were filed with USCIS’s new electronic pre-registration system for the 2020-21 fiscal year. That pre-registration system was supposed to streamline the H-1B application process. “As a result of this modernized process, the amount of paper and data exchanged between USCIS and petitioners will dramatically decrease this year,” USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow wrote in a statement following the application period. 

“The positive feedback received by users of the H-1B registration system, the limited amount of technical issues experienced during the registration period, and the ability to immediately respond to questions from registrants was the result of a comprehensive effort developed over the course of more than a year,” he added. Only those companies whose pre-registrations are selected via lottery will complete the (lengthier) visa petitions; now those companies may face complications due to the pandemic-related USCIS delays.

COVID-19 isn’t just impacting the processing of this year’s H-1B applications; it’s also sparking a debate over whether the visa allows workers to continue their jobs from a remote location. For example, the Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued a FAQ guide for complying with Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) during the pandemic, which claimed that workers with a radically altered workflow, or who end up working from home for longer than 30 days, may need to file an amended petition with USCIS. 

However, some attorneys think that the vast majority of H-1B workers won’t have to file an amended petition. “For an H-1B employee, an amended petition or LCA [labor condition application] should not be required as long as the employee is working in the same capacity and within typical commuting distance of the work location on the original petition and LCA,” William Stock of Klasko Immigration Law Partners recently told Forbes.

A flood of amended petitions would no doubt snarl things still further. It’s still relatively early days for the pandemic, but it’s clearly having an impact on the H-1B visa. 

For more COVID-19 content, check out the COVID-19 Jobs Resource Center.

23 Responses to “COVID-19 Delaying H-1B Visa Processing”

  1. Out of 275K visas, how many employer’s are going invest from their pocket paying visa fees? Do they have offshore office or agents? how many beneficiaries paying from their pocket? what are their education qualifications? do the employer real purchase/work order for the beneficiary with a future date?
    who is getting benefited for this Lottery? employer, attorney, beneficiary or US Citizen?

    Probably file a new or extension when Client really needs them without vendors, with evidence that no US Citizen terminated or applied for the position and not selected.

  2. I second above comment by @sm…Most of Nick-kolakowski posts are always one sided truth
    (30% stats and 70% of his personal prejudiced analysis aimed to attract the keyboard warriors).

    Anyways, @sm the person commented above has some solid understanding in identifying the issue.
    My 2 cents :
    1st Cent H1b exploitation= (Congress+Companies). Congress doesn’t have a stream lined process of employing qualified individuals because of which many skilled people are missed out. Companies are also looking for cheap talent there by saving money hence real skilled ppl are missing out again. (be it a citizen or a non-immigrant). So our own country congress/companies are not working for us just like the health care! lol

    2nd Cent: Another focus area is F1 visa. ALLOW ONLY skill full students. DO NOT GIVE F1 visa ( just because universities and fed gov can eat foreigners students money on an avg 25K$ per student) to everyone who will eventually gain the skill and apply for a job in USA through H1b visa.

    Note: I’m also not sure how Nick would be feeling about this right now. Everybody wants attention that includes Nick the editor, Congress, keyboard warriors and myself (in a good way).

    • @Sammy:

      ” … Most of Nick-kolakowski posts are always one sided truth (30% stats and 70% of his personal prejudiced analysis aimed to attract the keyboard warriors) … ”

      Ne’er truer words were penned. Kolakowski is a massively biased poor excuse for an IT industry reporter. Kolakowski has CENSORED (ie, not posted) EVERY COMMENT I have tried to post here. None were offensive. All were truth. Obviously, he and/or DICE simply didn’t agree. Didn’t know Stalin-esque Russian communism had been resurrected.

      Albeit, I will admit his articles can sometimes be somewhat in-depth RE information, which is good, I personally have never taken the time to verify and audit for facts and truth his purported suppositions in his articles. For all I know, the stuff is dead on. For all I know, it’s all made up. I take it at face value until I can verify, if ever.

      Born and bred purebred US. White male 58. Unemployed. H1B is a BIG reason, one of numerous. ~35+ years in IT networking worldwide, engineering AND management, for some of the largest companies in the world from IBM to Johnson Wax. I know what the eff I’m talking about when I pen COMMENTS.

      Like lamestream media, Kolakowski practices controlling the conversation and information, ie, stasi or ruskie commie CENSORSHIP. He posts COMMENTS that are only what he wants the readers to read.

      Grow a pair, Kolakowski. Let the readers decide what is relevant. By the way, Kolakowski, I’ve spent over ~35+ years DOING IT, not writing about it.

      Dig out my old COMMENTS and post them.

      Post my posts. Let the people decide.

      • @sr and @sammy – Are you really not able to read a simple expository article without considering it biased?
        Facts were presented. Where is the bias?
        It’s the lack of logic, critical skills and thinking like this that makes it so hard to consider people here using H1b visas as being smart enough to produce quality work.
        You two are fine examples of why we, your suffering coworkers, do not want the H1b visa program to continue.

        • @Milly:

          Huh?! WTF?! Are you a little slow on the reading uptake?! I don’t want the damn program either … have never wanted the thief program that steals American IT jobs from Americans. I’ve been monitoring closely the abuse of the program SINCE ~1995! How ’bout you?!

          Unlike probably you, Milly, I have read the law. The H1B law. Every letter. Numerous times. It states, and I quote, “the best and brightest”. The preponderance of H1Bs are anything but “best and brightest”. This law was meant to AUGMENT American staff populous that COULD NOT BE FOUND HERE IN AMERICA. Instead, it has turned into a corrupt illegal sewer of incompetent criminal placement companies and the severely incompetent inept “worst and dullard-est” they supply. American STEM are being displaced by a government and corporations that are FELONIOUSLY breaking the law. These are FELONIES. FELONIES. Everybody addresses the emotional aspect and everybody is ignoring the legal elephant in the room. These are FELONIES.

          There will always be two facets to any law. The actual law on the books and the ENFORCEMENT of such law. Selective enforcement via colour of law and dereliction of duty at the federal level in this country are FELONIES, based upon oaths of office. That is what this is … your own government and their corporate cronies committing FELONY after FELONY after FELONY … so far, with impunity.

          I have seen and experienced all the corrupt tactics these hadjis use to get hired:
          from sneaking over our borders to get in,
          or overstaying a vacation/student/work/spousal visa and disappearing into the shadows (~99% of these Indians never return to India … look it up),
          to lying on résumés and in interviews,
          to using proxies to take interviews for them,
          to falsifying education credentials that are next to impossible to verify,
          to falsifying purchased-over-the-web IT certifications,
          to using India-based parents’/grandparents’ ownership to purchase American homes to avoid paying any property taxes yet sending their kids to public schools without sharing a penny of the costs,
          to invasions of complete apartment complexes by these illegal aliens,
          to purposefully ILLEGALLY avoiding INS via obstruction of justice,
          to impregnating their illegal alien wives they smuggled over here to create DACA anchor babies for themselves,
          to reporting no taxes and sending most of their physical money back to India, exporting our dollar value,
          to being overpaid more than Americans in comparable positions because the hiring manager was a hadji,
          to hadji managers stating outright to my face they will not hire anybody but other hadjis,
          to Indians being hired and fired in the same week because of incompetence from lying their way into the job in the first place,
          to hadjis telling me to my face they do NOT have to obey any US law in any fashion (you don’t do that to an American Patriot and a former biker … big mistake),
          to personally witnessing an approximate 200:3 ratio hadjis:whites coming into work at treasonous traitor Kohls corporate world headquarters,
          to hadjis purposefully, intentionally, discriminatorially interviewing and hiring ONLY other hadjis,
          to on … and on … and on.

          Over ~35+ years I have been in IT engineering and management. I have worked with these hadjis, managed these hadjis, hired and fired these hadjis, befriended these hadjis. Hell, I still have friends that are hadjis and I call them hadjis to their face. My hadji friends actually agree with me and verify that, yes, all this abuse is happening, and they don’t like it any better than we do. But what I WILL tell you is this: THERE HAS NEVER BEEN, NOR WILL THERE EVER BE, BETTER INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY WORKERS THAN PUREBRED AMERICAN STEM WORKERS. That’s a fact and TRUTH based on a pure ~35+ years of experience … NOT an opinion.

          The actual H1B and PERM laws are being completely ignored or selectively enforced, both FELONIES. The core of this whole damn thing is that the “best and brightest” for STAFF AUGMENTATION ONLY is not being adhered to. The government and corporations have one attitude: we’ll do what we want, the law be damned, catch us if you can. I have NO problem bringing in talent that we don’t have in America. But we ALL know that is VERY few and far between. We have more than all the talent we need in domestic American citizens. The core of this problem is absolutely no solidarity nor leadership exists within the victims of this atrocity.

          At least the blacks TRIED with The Million Man March. All that American STEM victims do is bitch in comboxes. Unify, organize, even unionize … there is power only in numbers these days. Government/corporations don’t give a shit about web-bitching and will continue their criminal behaviour as long as they can get away with it … once again, the law be damned. This is also why age discrimination is so rampant, especially in IT. Government and corps will push you as far as they can, the law be damned.

          ~22MM+ and counting unemployed now because of COVID and they’re already writing about the “victimization” of the H1Bs and how we need to help them. You GOTTA be kidding me.

          My old man used to say that sometimes, just sometimes, when all else has failed, all that some people will finally understand is a 2×4 upside the head.

          Is it about that time?

          • This is a truth… I have witnessed and experienced the same bullet pointed deceptions and falsehoods myself as a hiring screener. Furthermore, the point that once they get hired into managerial positions, they very much favor their own to the displacement of American citizens. They do not have any American sense of racial or national equality; it is a foreign concept to them. But this raises another question… if they are promoted into management, how can they be in a skillset that can’t be hired by American citizens? This then nullifies the very justification by which they were allowed in to work on an H1B to begin with.

          • @D The analysis in your comment exactly shows why we lack good perspective and tend to hate each other.
            ” ….Furthermore, the point that once they get hired into managerial positions, they very much favor their own to the displacement of American citizens…”
            In a corporate world, I wonder who doesn’t ? Name few companies where you do not find favoritism. Now, there should not be favoritism, regardless of position/person ethnicity of any kind !
            Do keep in mind that, In USA, majority of Americans/Europeans are in management positions. Don’t spit hatred with baseless comments!

          • @Zen

            Hey, dumbass.

            READ HIS POST … AND READ THE H1B LAW!!

            D is penning that, once a hadji is promoted to a management position, this is NOT a skill set that qualifies for nor requires an H1B BECAUSE YOU CAN FIND MANAGEMENT SKILL SETS AMONG DOMESTIC AMERICAN WORKERS. THIS THUS NULLIFIES THE HADJI MANAGER’S QUALIFYING ABILITY TO BE IN AMERICA IN THE FIRST PLACE UNDER AN H1B VISA. H1B, BY LAW, BY DEFINITION, ONLY ALLOWS IN SKILLS THAT CANNOT BE FOUND ANYWHERES IN THE US, AND THEN, ONLY FILLED BY THE “BEST AND BRIGHTEST” FROM OTHER COUNTRIES.

            READ THE EFF’IN LAW BEFORE YOU SPEW YOUR IGNORANCE!!

            GAWD, HOW dense are the readers on the internet?! No wonder Uncle Scam and the hadji criminal IT cabal the likes of InfoSys WiPro, Tata, etc, run roughshod over you IT morons.

            STOP DEFENDING THE INDEFENSIBLE, AND START PROTECTING YOUR SOVEREIGNTY BY PROTECTING YOUR LIVELIHOODS!!

            END THE H1B LAW(S) NOW!!!

          • I have seen the same. Around here it is almost impossible for non-Indians to get a job in STEM. An Indian acquaintance working for a huge American company even told me that since Trump they cannot hire anybody in the US because they cannot bring anybody from India.

          • SFGUY

            Hello Purebred IT Worker. Just reading your rhetoric made me sure that the reason you are unemployed is YOU. People like you who boast their “whiteness” makes me sure that your misery arises from your own biases and someone figured it out at some point in your life. Does H1B abuse happen? Yes it does, I know that. I am on H1B (non IT) and I know there are challenges in the program. However, to become bitter and racist is not the answer. I am sure not every H1B worker is as apt they claim but a lot of them are good at what they do. Race and skin color doesn’t guarantee anything (except whites are used to their privilege for centuries now). American Capitalism has gone rogue. Politicians and corporations have decided that profits demanded by wall street are more important than anything else. Hence workers gets replaced by cheaper labor. Manufacturing saw this and now higher end jobs may see this as well. However, here is a positive point – before Covid 19 unemplyment was 3.5%. In few years, it will be back again at that level. Only people who were unemployed at that level were truely unemployable. May be you were one of them and not because the so called “Hadjis” wont hire you, but because of your own attitude towards people made the employers shun you. My advise, take a beather, get to know people, bring positivity to your life. Hatred consumes you and makes you demean yourself. May be the same culture you hate (from India) can teach you a thing or two about tolerance! Be safe and Be prosperous!

  3. USCIS should investigate the onsite/off shore companies, pull up the contract documents and make them stick to the process, define the limit to outsourcing. Allow only skilled techies. These changes should be done at the root of issue rather than watching how it gets out of control! I would blame the politicians than the people! Nevertheless, it’s always a legal immigrant who gets stoned meanwhile the industries looting the money of a common man !

  4. You may copy and paste this to your message to President Trump at https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

    The COVID-19 is an economic fiasco for american workers.

    Companies currently with H1B workers must not be allowed to lay off their american workers despite COVID. They should first lay off their H1B (non-american) workers before laying off their american workers.

    Stop new H1B visas. Repatriate existing H1B workers back to their home countries. Enough is enough.

    If you really want to protect american workers, start with the STEM jobs that are being lost to H1B workers.

    Thank you.

    • Cygnusx1

      I suggest you also contact your House Representative and both Senators from your state-repeatedly.

      If we keep silent corporations and foreigners will keep screwing us.

      Is there any other white-collar profession that imports workers to this extent? With the primary goal of reducing salaries. We took STEM because it’s difficult and the promise of high salary. Now the rug has been pulled out from underneath us.

      Oh, and btw they are also getting stimulus checks…salt in the wound.

      If India is so great how come they don’t have businesses there that need all these guys?

      Forget the fact that most of these guys don’t have the knowledge and experience they claim.

  5. Step 1 = Slow down current H-1B visa reviews
    Step 2 = Stop accepting new H-1B visa application
    Step 3 = Scrutinize current H-1B visa holder positions
    Step 4 = Revoke H-1B visas for those that clearly don’t possess unique skills
    Step 5 = Higher the estimated 20 million newly unemployed citizens.

  6. DanSumner

    Even before this crisis companies and public sector agencies used the H1B hourly I.T. staff to phase out salaried workers. The company line was that hourly staff was budgeted like rented furniture. Their numbers could be reduced anytime. The reality is that many have held their jobs as long as years or more. They just don’t have to pay benefits for them. The same justification will be used as business returns. As they recover revenue sources, they Will look to keep costs down. Even in good times that usually means cutting salary and benefits. No doubt that companies and agencies will use this as an opportunity to further cut salaried staff. The H1B vendors already understand this and want to be in position to profit. Don’t forget there is already a proposal to fast track the spouses of H1B Visa holders to citizenship.

  7. Brian Quinn

    I was better off when all IT jobs in the US went through American owned businesses and the businesses in this country hired at least 80% US citizens and our government used taxpayer money to hire US citizens first. Of course I want to go back to that. We did just fine before the exploitation and greed took over. Now in my own country I have to state that I am a god damn US citizen. In my own fucking country.

  8. I came in H!B Visa about 16 years back and i am now US citizen. I can clearly see how companies are miss using H1B visas. Last year was really difficult time for me, my project ended and my consulting company was laying off all of the team members. I tried to apply for the jobs outside attended few interviews with major consulting companies. These companies are heavily offshore and h1b visa depenedent. Hiring process was horrible, they don’t consider your extensive deep experience, certifications earned i think their main intention is to do fake interview and reject the candidates so they can bring H!B candidates. Especially Interview with infosys was worst experience, the interviewer treated me so cheap (i had put US citizen status in my resume) he confirmed that I am US citizen. i checked the interviewer linkedin profile he was junior to me and i can definitely see he was on some visa.

    • Yes – it’s fine when it’s a come to America – have fun year-to-year, lease a fast-car, have some dates with American women, have a few babies, and then go back when the fun is over … but when you are a citizen … and you can’t make it because of people that are having a joy-ride on American jobs … then it’s a bummer to watch the corruption of having American corporations trade an American joy-ride job for Revenue made at location X abroad … you got it … nice to see your post …

    • So the older ones that got in through H1B Visa and became citizens are also NOW being side-step for the cheaper new H1B visa applicants.

      Very sick society and economic model when most of the wealth is concentrated to a very small percentage of society, aided by work and immigration programs such as H1B – to the detriment of the majority. This failed economic model is quite evident now because of the pandemic.

  9. Keep Out

    This is a long-time technique used by Indian companies: dump tens of thousands of requests for visas in order to overload the system. Workers will get overwhelmed and approve more in order to appear ‘productive’. With this many requests, just toss them ALL. Try again next year. LOL