The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has resumed premium processing for H1B visa petitions submitted until the end of 21 December, 2018.
Premium processing is expensive for visa seekers, as it requires them to pay an additional amount of US$1,410 per application on top of the base fee. However, analysts say it is precious for many IT companies struggling to hire skilled technology professionals in the United States.
Under the system, petitions will be processed within 15 days. Generally, USCIS takes between three and five months to process work visas.
The Donald Trump administration has made many changes to the rules governing the h1b visa, a work permit largely used by foreign technology workers in the United States.
The most notable change was preferring master’s degree holders over entry level workers.
The agency suspended premium processing last year, pointing to a growing backlog of petitions.
The announcement has failed to lift the spirits of Indian IT services providers as the agency will only speed up the process for petitions filed last year.
“The previously announced temporary suspension of premium processing remains in effect for H-1B petitions to which it applied that were filed on or after Dec. 22, 2018,” said USCIS in a statement on Friday. “On Jan. 28, we resumed premium processing for FY 2019 cap-subject petitions, including those eligible for the advanced degree exemption. We plan to resume premium processing for the remaining categories of H 1B petitions as agency workloads permit.”