H-1B Visa rules to remain same this year

Mon 20 Mar 2017, 12:11:36
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) authority announced earlier this week that there will be no change in H-1B visa norms this year.With this, the IT companies can benefit from the existing H-1B visa policy for their workers for another year.

The USCIS will start accepting applications for H1B visas for the fiscal 2018 starting April 3, 2017.For the FY2018, there will be no change in the Congressional mandated limit of 65,000 H-1B visas in the general category.

The 20,000 limit for foreign students who have done masters or higher degree from a US academic institution too stays for this year (FY2018).Last date haven’t been announced for accepting visa applications.

Unlike previous years, the official announcement by USCIS this time has no word on till when it will accept the H1B visa petitions. The department normally accepts the visa applications for the first five business days. “The agency will monitor the number of petitions received and notify the public when the H-1B cap has been met,” is all that the USCIS’ release says this year.

The USCIS recently suspended the premium processing of H-1B visas. This is said to have been done to deal with backlog of long-pending applications. Premium processing allows skilled workers to pay extra to get faster approvals to work in the US. The filing fee for premium category is $1,225, which guarantees response after 15 days.

However, this is not the first time that this category has been suspended. Also, immigration authourities said, “Once we get all that data into the system, once we’re ready to turn it back on, we put premium processing back in play and people can then file if they want, to have their adjudication done within 15 days, as opposed to 30, 60, 90, whatever our processing time is at the time.”

Fiscal year 2018 begins on 1 October 2017. The new season for applying for the H-1B visas traditionally starts on April 1 and the visas are granted from October 1.In its release, USCIS said that all cap-subject H-1B petitions filed before April 3 for the FY 2018 cap will be rejected.
The filing fee for Form I-129 has been increased to $460, and petitioners no longer have 14 days to correct a dishonoured payment.

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