Indian Firms Welcome Resumption of H-1B Visa Premium Processing
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Indian IT industry is feeling a tinge of relief, as the United States has resumed the premium processing of H-1B visas, six months after its suspension in March, to clear the backlog of long-pending applications. The resumption of visa processing will help Indian companies plan their projects well and deal with exigencies effectively. Indian techies account for almost 70 per cent issuances of H-1B visas each year.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed the processing on Sept. 18, subject to the fiscal year 2018 cap of 65,000 visas. The USCIS guarantees the completion of processing within 15 days.
What is Premium Processing of H-1B Visa?
Premium processing of H-1B visa involves fast processing of pending applications within 15 days, for a service charge of $1,225. The 15-day processing time is the major highlight as normal processing usually takes 3-6 months.
However, new applications will go through the normal channel, and will be processed only in a timeline that ranges from three to six months.
The premium processing of H-1B visas is likely to help companies that have to move professionals to the United States immediately for new projects and other business requirements.
Indian IT Industry Relieved
“This is certainly a welcome move,” R Chandrasekhar, the president of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), said, according to NDTV. “We were expecting this to come. Usually, when priority visa processing is suspended, it is done for 2 months or so. This time, it was more, which was different.”
Chandrasekhar added that the resumption of visa processing was very vital for the “smooth conduct of business”.
“Applications have halved because of issues around visa, including long delays, increased scrutiny, and also because of changing business models, there is increased local hiring,” he pointed out.
The six-month lacuna in premium issuance of H-1B visas gave valuable lessons to Indian companies, which rely a lot on the United States for their operations. It made many of them look for newer markets in Europe and other parts of the world, a trend that may continue now.
Even in the midst of these positive signs, data reviewed by Reuters reveals that the U.S. government headed by President Donald Trump is issuing costly and time-consuming challenges to visa applications. USCIS data shows that the agency issued 85,000 requests for evidence between January 1 and August 31, 2017 to H-1B visa applicants — a 45 per cent increase over the same period last year. The request for evidence may delay the visa issuance procedure by months.