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Cap-Exempt H-1B Applications Resume Premium Processing

immigration1-300x200United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that premium processing for H-1B applications exempt from the annual cap will resume. The announcement effectively reverses an earlier executive order by President Trump, which put a temporary stop to the H-1B visa program.

In a press release, USCIS, the government agency in charge of lawful immigration into the United States, stated, “The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will resume premium processing for certain cap-exempt H-1B petitions effective immediately.”

“The H-1B visa has an annual cap of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. Additionally, there is an annual ‘master’s cap’ of 20,000 petitions filed for beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher,” the release added.

The H-1B visa is a United States non-immigrant visa provided under section 101(a)(17)(H) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. It allows US companies to bring in highly skilled foreign workers, particularly those from specialized fields including technology, medicine, and other areas of specialization requiring specific theoretical and technical expertise.

Usually, immigration services process and respond to H-1B visa applications within a month. Companies looking to hire foreign talent under the H-1B program can, however, pay a premium to speed up the process – receiving the results of prospect employees’ visa applications within 15 days.

President Trump has issued executive orders with the intent of drastically reducing the inflow of foreign workers – following through on his strongly anti-immigrant campaign rhetoric accusing non-Americans of “taking American jobs.” The executive orders also fulfilled a campaign promise to systemize a “Hire American” policy to “protect American jobs and wages taken up by immigrants.”

This development comes as great news for India. In his recent visit to the country, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly sought a discussion of the H-1B with President Trump, which observers believe may have been instrumental in the recent decision by USCIS. Indian citizens are the top beneficiaries of one of the United States’ most popular visas, with India accounting for more than 70 percent of H-1B visas each, most of which go to IT professionals.

“The premium processing will resume for petitions that may be exempt from the cap if the H-1B petitioner is: An institution of higher education, a nonprofit related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education, or a nonprofit research or governmental research organization. Premium processing will also resume for petitions that may also be exempt if the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap-exempt institution, organization or entity,” USCIS stated in its press release.

If you would like to learn more about the H-1B visa program, or need assistance to apply for a visa with your employer, the Lyttle Law Firm is ready to help. Schedule a consultation with immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle for a full review of your employment credentials and immigration requirements.