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US resumes premium processing of H-1B visas

Washington, Sep 19 (IANS) The US has resumed the premium processing of all H-1B visa petitions subject to the fiscal 2018 cap, five months after it was suspended to check the rush of work visas popular among Indian techies.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) resumed the premium processing on Monday. The suspension has, however, been revoked subject to a limit mandated by the US Congress. The FY 2018 cap has been set at 65,000 visas, a press release said.

Premium processing also resumed for the annual 20,000 additional petitions that are set aside to hire workers with a US master’s degree or higher educational degree.

Premium processing of H1B visa was suspended in April to manage a huge rush of new petitions.

H-1B visas are one of the most opted visas in the US that provide skilled workers from foreign countries to work in a wide range of specialty occupations, including information technology, academic research, and accounting. It is used mostly by Indian IT professionals.

When a petitioner requests the agency’s premium processing service, the USCIS guarantees a 15-day processing time. “If the 15- calendar day processing time is not met, the agency will refund the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continue with expedited processing of the application,” the USCIS said.

It said that the service is only available for pending petitions, not new submissions.

In addition to the resumption of premium processing for H-1B visa petitions subject to the FY 2018 cap, USCIS previously resumed premium processing H-1B petitions filed on behalf of physicians under the Conrad 30 waiver programme, as well as interested government agency waivers and for certain H-1B petitions that are not subject to the cap.

Premium processing remains temporarily suspended for all other H-1B petitions, such as extensions of stay, the release said.

The USCIS said it plans to resume premium processing for all other remaining H-1B petitions not subject to the FY 2018 cap, as agency workloads permit.

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