NEWARK, ELIZABETH, and JERSEY CITY, New Jersey. In March, the Trump administration put an end to expedited service for the H1-B visa. The expedited service previously allowed employers and employees to fast-track their H1-B visa applications once these applicants were chosen from the lottery.
However, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently announced, that for workers who were entered into last year’s H1-B lottery, premium processing may now be available. The USCIS memo notes that “USCIS will resume premium processing on Monday, January 28 for all fiscal year (FY) 2019 H1-B cap petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exception.” With premium processing, applicants (usually an employer) can pay $1,225 and get a decision on the H1-B application within 15 days. For workers who might have been caught in the limbo of waiting for a decision on their H1-B, the change means that if they choose to utilize premium processing, they can start work sooner. Under regular processing, workers can face wait times up to 10 months, according to QZ. Some employers had expressed concern that they would not be able to onboard workers as planned because of the loss of premium processing.
Will many workers need to take advantage of premium processing? According to Bloomberg, USCIS has approved and denied many of the applications already in its workflow, meaning that there may be fewer applications eligible for premium processing and fewer applications awaiting decisions. However, for workers who have still not received a decision who would like to increase their sense of certainty about their work start date, taking advantage of the premium processing option might be a good idea.
The change only applies to 2019 H1-B cap petitions, and not to any other petitions.
Are you considering applying for an H1-B visa? How does this change affect you? How does the H1-B process work? In order to receive an H1-B visa, you must work in an eligible field and find an employer in that field to sponsor you. The employer will need to provide supporting documentation, including information about your exact duties for the proposed position, salary, descriptions about the position, and requirements for the position. USCIS will need to confirm that the salary the employer is offering is consistent with the prevailing wage in the field. There are a limited number of H1-Bs granted each year. Each year, there is a quota of 65,000 for all applicants, with an additional 20,000 visas available for those with master’s degrees, or advanced degrees.
If your H1-B is approved, you may be eligible to work in the U.S. for up to 6 years, and may be eligible for a green card. If you have questions about the H1-B process, changed rules regarding premium processing, or your immigration options, reach out to the Law Office of Eric M. Mark, Newark, Elizabeth, and Jersey City immigration attorneys today. Our lawyers can help you understand your options and may be able to assist you or your employer when applying for an H1-B visa. Visit us at https://www.ericmarklaw.com/ to learn more.
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