“Premium Processing for Some H-1B Visas Set to Resume”

6/27/2017
SHRM


“Expedited processing for H-1B petitions will resume ‘as workloads permit,’ U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced June 23.

“The agency also said that it will resume premium processing for H-1B petitions filed for medical doctors under the Conrad 30 Waiver program beginning June 26.

“…USCIS announced in March that it was going to suspend expedited processing for all H-1B visas for up to six months beginning in early April. 

“…President Donald Trump's administration revoked a provision put in place to expedite visa processing times for business travelers coming to the U.S. in the interest of national security and ‘careful, accurate vetting of visa applicants.’

“The executive order, issued quietly June 21, deletes a subsection of a 2012 order from then-President Barack Obama that directed the State Department to ‘ensure that 80 percent of nonimmigrant visa applicants are interviewed within three weeks of receipt of application.’

“‘Obama's order was meant to help encourage tourism [including business travel] into the U.S. by calling for faster visa processing,’ said Sameer Khedekar, a partner with the Pearl Law Group, an immigration law firm in San Francisco.

“The White House said that removing the guideline gives the State Department flexibility to decide when longer processing times may be appropriate, instead of forcing it into a ‘rushed process to accommodate an arbitrary deadline.’

“Khedekar said that it is likely that higher-volume consulates will revert back to pre-2014 processing times that ‘sometimes stretched to six weeks or more.’

“…[Khedekar] argued that longer processing times are not necessary to guarantee more effective screening of visa applicants. ‘In fact, many within the State Department have privately argued that posts have already been able to balance 'extreme vetting' practices with speedy visa processing,’ he said.”

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