The H-1B visa process for the fiscal year 2018-19, widely being called the toughest visa application process begins today, April 2. The Trump administration that rolled out the 'Buy American and Hire American' Executive Order will be scrutinising every application minutely before issuing the most sought-after work visa. According to multiple reports this year there will be zero tolerance for minor errors, taking the already difficult process to a new level. Immigration attorneys are expecting a higher rate of rejection this year, as mentioned in a report by NDTV.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that is issued to foreign workers. Thousands of Indian employees are currently working in the US through the H-1B.
A few days earlier, USCIS had temporarily suspended the premium processing of visas. The Premium Processing Service is an expedited processing of particular employment-based applications. This service is being suspended till September 10.
"This temporary suspension will help us reduce overall H-1B processing times. By temporarily suspending premium processing, we will be able to process long-pending petitions, which we have currently been unable to process due to the high volume of incoming petitions and the significant surge in premium processing requests over the past few years," the USCIS had said.
The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit cap of 65,000 visas each year. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a US master's degree or higher are exempted from the cap.
USCIS said that it will reject H-1B petitions requesting an earlier employment start date or a start date of 'As Soon As Possible' or 'ASAP'.
"Complete all sections of the form accurately, the petitioner should include a copy of the beneficiary's valid passport," USCIS added.
If the applicant is seeking an extension of stay or change of status, he or she should include evidence to establish that the beneficiary will maintain a valid non-immigrant status through the employment start date being requested, USCIS said in its filing tips.
When the successful applicant appears before the American diplomatic missions, embassies and consulates for a formal visa interview and stamping on their passport, they would have to be ready with details of the social media profile, emails and phone numbers of the last five years.
Ahead of the H-1B visa filing process, USCIS said this work visa should help US companies recruit highly-skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country. "Yet, too many American workers who are as qualified, willing, and deserving to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged. Employers who abuse the H-1B visa program may negatively affect US workers, decreasing wages and opportunities as they import more foreign workers," it said.
(With PTI inputs)