While the United States has sent assurance to India that the H-1B reforms are not a priority, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has posted a bulletin that institutes a stop to the fast-track processing of H-1B visa applications.
According to a statement from the USCIS, the suspension may last up to six months, and will help the agency to "process long-pending petitions, which we have now 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; and prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240 day mark".
Foreigners aiming for temporary jobs at high-tech USA companies will undergo a longer visa approval process after the Trump administration announced it will temporarily suspend expedited applications for H-1B visas. The suspension may last up to 6 months.
"While H-1B premium processing is suspended, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker which requests the H-1B nonimmigrant classification", the news release read. That ban was put on hold by a federal court. Last year, the demand was three times greater than the quota.
Chance of March US Federal Reserve interest rate hike increases
The central bank's policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee is set to convene at its two-day meeting starting March 14. Most analysts now expect the Fed to push rates higher by another 0.25 per cent in March, following the hike in December.
The visas are now doled out by lottery, and outsourcing firms like Infosys and Tata Consulting flood the visa application pool, according to The Verge.
While the visas are used to fill the United States skills gap, Trump has spoken out about abuse of the program. The latest Bill introduced to curb IT outsourcing is called the US Call Center and Consumer Protection Act, which would make American companies ineligible for grants or guaranteed loans from the government if they shift call centre jobs to countries like India.
Lawmakers for years have debated proposals to change the popular H-1B visa program, with suggestions for how to fix it a highly contentious topic.
Under the H-1B and L1 Visa Reform, the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would have additional oversight authority to investigate fraud and abuse as well as to increase penalties for companies that violate the bill's requirements.