H-1B Visa Applications For 2018 To Be Accepted From April 3
Washington: Application for H-1B work visas, which is highly popular among Indian IT companies and professionals, for fiscal year 2018 can be filed from April 3. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) however did not say till when it would continue accepting the H-1B visa applications. In the past, the US agency normally accepted applications for the first five business days. Fiscal year 2018 begins on October 1, 2017.
The US agency’s announcement also comes as some relief for Indian IT companies and professionals as it signals that there would be no change in the H-1B visa regime as was being anticipated in view of flurry of bills introduced to tighten it. The White House says that H1-B visas would be part of a comprehensive immigration reform agenda. In the last few years, the department has received enough petitions to fill in the Congressional mandated 85,000 H-1B visas.
This 85,000 Congressional mandated limit on H-1B visas include 65,000 in the general category and another 20,000 for those foreign students who have masters or higher degree from a US academic institution.
USCIS said H-1B programme allows companies in the US to temporarily employ foreign workers in occupations that require the application of a body of highly specialised knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific speciality, or its equivalent. H-1B speciality occupations may include fields such as science, engineering and information technology.
“Congress set a cap of 65,000 H-1B visas per fiscal year. An advanced degree exemption from the H-1B cap is available for 20,000 beneficiaries who have earned a US master’s degree or higher. The agency will monitor the number of petitions received and notify the public when the H-1B cap has been met,” it said.
The US agency had recently announced a temporary suspension of premium processing for all H-1B petitions starting April 3 for up to six months. “H-1B petitioners must follow all statutory and regulatory requirements as they prepare petitions to avoid delays in processing and possible requests for evidence,” it said. The filing fee for Form I-129 has increased to $460, and petitioners no longer have 14 days to correct a dishonoured payment.