The move comes immediately after President Donald Trump announced to be temporarily suspending expedited applications for the H-1B visas.
Petitioners will still have the opportunity to expedite their H-1B petition during the suspension if they meet the qualifications that include humanitarian crises or emergency situations.
However, it will continue to premium process Form I-129 H-1B petitions if the petitioner properly filed an associated Form I-907 before April 3, 2017. These applications appear to be rising in number, and the USCIS says it is suspending it in order to clear some of the backlog. Otherwise, the H-1B waiting period could be several months.
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The visa is valid for three years but can be extended for an additional three years.
Although Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's tech lobbying group FWD.us has sought an expansion of the H1-B visa program, U.S. senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) sent a letter to Trump administration on Friday morning asking the president to deliver on his campaign promise to crack down on H-1B visas. "We review all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis and requests are granted at the discretion of the office leadership", states the note.
"While H-1B premium processing is suspended, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker which requests the H-1B nonimmigrant classification", the news release read. Companies from fields including tech, engineering, journalism, medicine and academia regularly apply to acquire some of the program's 85,000 visas, which are distributed via lottery. Richard Durbin (D) of IL asking Trump to revamp the law and replace the lottery with a system prioritizing graduates of USA universities and the highest-paid workers.
He refers to the common complaint that foreign companies game the system by flooding the government with applications, hire workers for temporary training at half the standard salary, then rotate them back to the home country. Last year, the demand was three times greater than the quota.