H-1B visa process begins today: Why your move to America might get tougher

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H-1B visa application:  United States Citizenship and Immigration Services will start the process of filing petitions for H-1B visa for the season 2018-19 on April 2. The H-1B programme offers temporary US visas that allow companies to hire highly skilled foreign professionals working in areas with shortages of qualified American workers. H-1B is considered as the most sought-after work visa among highly-skilled Indian professionals. Touted as the "toughest 

Who applies for H-1B visa?

Indian IT companies, which are among the major beneficiaries of H-1B visas, have a significant number of its employees deployed at third-party worksites. A significant number of American banking, travel and commercial services depend on on-site IT workers from India to get their job done. They are the highest number of visa seekers. 

The sponsoring company files the H-IB visa application and not the visa-seeker who is travelling to US. 

How many people get H-1B visa per year?

According to the report, USCIS can approve more than 330,000 H-1B petitions each year and, as of April 2017, reported more than 680,000 approved and valid H-1B petitions. Only 65,000 visas are allotted annually under the regular cap which comes under as general quota. For those who hold an advanced degree from US universities, an additional 20,000 visas are allotted under the Master’s cap. 

Why is it tougher this year? 

The Trump administration has announced a new policy that makes very tough the procedure of issuing H-1B visas to those will be employed at one or more third-party worksites. 

Under the new "Buy American and Hire American" policy, a company would have to go an extra mile to prove that its H-1B employee at a third-party worksite has specific and non-qualifying speculative assignments specialty occupation. 

The employers submitting initial or renewal petitions for H-1B visas will also have to provide all contracts between the intermediary vendors and all end clients.

Who passes the H1-B visa?

According to US Citizenship and Immigration Services, there will be zero tolerance for minutest of errors. US Citizenship and Immigration Services is the federal agency who handle the responsibility of allotting H-1B visas. There may be higher rate of rejection this year, suggest reports. "The USCIS will begin accepting applications for the fiscal year 2019 (October 2018 to September 2019) from April 2. The suspension will last until September 10," the body had said.

Tougher American dreams?

"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 added.

USCIS has also been recommended to develop comprehensive policies across Directorates to ensure adjudicative action is prioritized on fraudulent or noncompliant immigration benefits identified by the H-1B ASVVP (Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program) and targeted site visits.

According to the US administration officials, the scrutiny is needed to ensure the integrity of the controversial visa programme, which according to critics has cost American jobs.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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