Tag Archives: premium processing

H-1B Visas Hard for Foreigners to get in 2017

On April 3, 2017, the annual H1B visa application season will open again with 65,000 standard visas and 20,000 US graduate degree only visas available.

The last few years after the Great Recession has seen the return of the H-1B visa lottery because of the massive (200,000+) visa petition applications received in the first few days following the April open date. This has meant both that the demands from the US economy and largely the private sector in growth areas like technology and the sciences are not being met but also that otherwise fine applications are being declined or not considered because they were just not being picked.

Well 2017 has brought a new dynamic that could bring down much of the most comprehensive professional employment visa in US immigration. President Trump and his administration have sought to undermine lawful US Immigration from the moment they have taken office with disastrous results and strong rebukes from the US Judicial system.

Unfortunately much of the US Immigration system is based on agency and individual personnel discretion. Therefore things likes denying a petition based on technicalities or just because a officer believes a petition is not “legitimate” or in the US national interest in some way. This could also be because of something obscure about the employer, the role or the foreigner can also result in denials. Additionally by slowing down the approval process itself meaning that both the foreign candidate and the employer might have to abandon the petition because of personal life circumstances and/or urgent business need.

So all of the above is already turning many employers away from hiring as well as the additional scrutiny likely coming over the prevailing wage requirement. Now the USCIS has said they are going to suspend the premium processing program which cost employers/filers an additional $1,225 USD. This program guaranteed a response one way or another 15 days following the official receipt of the H-1B petition application.

Many employers relied on this to be able to make business plans knowing that while an approval doesn’t official take effect until October 1 of the year, it meant that through programs like F-1 Visa OPT, ability to work during pending petitions with changing employers with the H-1B portability provision, during the renewal process or just general planning knowing that staff would be working soon, allowed business to continue.

Foreigners also relied on this for life certainty and then things like planning housing, children’s schooling, dealing with affairs in their previous location and just general life issues.

With the combination of longer overall processing times, extra overall scrutiny on visa petitions with roles/employers/employees, harsher interpretations of prevailing wage, the lingering uncertainty over the attempted travel and muslim bans and now this suspension of premium processing, we can expect a far worse H-1B visa season for all.

Ultimately the losers are everyone because as we have talked about before, foreigners are net positive contributors to the US economy and disproportionately are founders of the most successful US companies today as well as recipients of US graduate and PhD degrees and overall STEM degrees.

A sad time for us all …

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H1B Visa News May 2010

As an addition update for the Fy2011 H1B visa season that commenced April 1, 2010 we have had little change in the overall H1B visa quota numbers.

So as of May 14, 2010, which is the most recent h1b quota update the USCIS has announced. There are currently 19,000 petitions to count towards the general 65,000 H1B visa cap which only includes petitions that are approved or pending.
Anything that has already been denied is not included.

Additionally 8,100 petitions have been received for the US Advanced Degree exemption quota portion of 20,000. It should be noted that if the advanced degree quota fills up, then those petitions go into the pool for the regular 65,000 cap.

(It should be noted that the related H-1B1 visa for Chilean and Singaporean citizens are not included in this cap)

So it would seem that there is plenty of visas still available and judging by the moderate amount of applications received thus far, traditional H1B visa sponsor companies are still nowhere the levels of hiring they were in 2006-8,

Additionally this quota has not grown much since our H1B Visa April 2010 update and so our prediction of the autoa nearing exhaustion by the end of May 2010 is way off. In fact in about 40 days, the quota has only grown by about 6,000 for the main cap and about 2,500 for the advance degree exemption.

Certainly it would seem that the overall unchanged rate in the unemployment rate at the levels of close to 10% in the US overall is still having a large effect of the hiring of foreign talent.

As an additional note from the USCIS regarding Form I-907 which is used to request premium processing; (although this H1B visa season like last year, it may not really be as necessary with the H1B visa quota filling up so slowly)

H-1B petitions are eligible for the Premium Processing Service.  Petitioners may choose to file a Request for Premium Processing Service (Form I-907) to have their petition adjudicated within 15 calendar days. To request premium processing submit

  • the Form I-907 and
  • the filing fee of $1,000 (this fee is in addition to the required base filing and other applicable fees and cannot be waived).

You can file the Form I-907 and corresponding fee

  • at the same time as Form I-129 or
  • at any time after you file Form I-129 while it is still pending.

If filed after the Form I-129, be sure to include the receipt number (e.g., EAC 10 123 51234) of the Form I-129 in the pertinent section of Form I-907.

  • Complete all sections of the form accurately with original signatures.  We will accept the 08/28/06, 04/02/07, 07/30/07, and the 8/10/09 editions of Form I-907 through April 30, 2010. After April 30, 2010, we will only accept the 08/10/09 edition of Form I-907.
  • The representative should sign in both Parts 3 and 4 of the Form I-907 if there is a valid Form G-28 with the filing.  Otherwise, the petitioner’s signature is required.  Preferably, the signature(s) should be in blue ink.
  • Include a copy of the Form I-129 receipt notice along with the Form I-907 when Form I-907 is filed after the filing of Form I-129.

Also again it is good to note the change of address for sending applications here and for the official USCIS link about FY2011 H1B visa season, click here.

CJ

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