The process of filing applications for H-1B visas – one of the most sought-after work permits among Indian professionals looking to work in the United States – began on Monday, NDTV reported. It is in focus this year amid increased scrutiny by the Donald Trump administration.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is the federal agency that processes the visas, has indicated that there will be zero tolerance for even minor errors. Indian companies will now have to prove that their H-1B employees at a third-party work site have specific tasks in a speciality occupation. The companies will have to submit evidence of actual work assignments, description of the task entrusted upon the beneficiary, the qualifications required to perform those tasks, the duration of the job, salary, work hours and other benefits.
Unlike the previous policy under which H-1B visas were granted for three years, the work permits can now be issued only for the period for which the employees work at a third-party work site.
“In the US federal law, a single company cannot file multiple H-1B applications for the same visa applicant,” Kuldeep Singh, an immigration lawyer, told The Times of India. “When a company files an H-1B application, another related company cannot do so unless there exists two separate job opportunities. These jobs must be clearly different.”
The US immigration office, which expects a huge rush of applications, has temporarily suspended premium processing for all petitions for the 2019 financial year (October 2018 to September 2019), including petitions seeking an exemption for individuals with a US masters’ degree or higher. This suspension is expected to last until September 10. However, the agency will continue to accept such requests for applications that are not subject to the cap for the 2019 financial year.
“This temporary suspension will help us reduce overall H-1B processing times,” the agency had said last month. “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.”