The Donald Trump administration’s choice to halt expedited processing of H-1B visas could abruptly interrupt the plans of numerous of immigrant workers in a range of industries from technology to health care, immigration experts state.
H-1B visas permit employers to bring in skillful foreign workers; nearly 85,000 will be given out this year. The visas are in huge demand & carried out by lottery. It can take 6 months or higher for an application to be evaluated.
But the government declared Friday that, as of April 3, it would halt the “premium processing” option, which guarantees an application will be evaluated within 15 days. It costs $1,225.
Donald Trump has challenged companies of abusing the H-1B Visa program as a way to hire immigrant workers who take employment away from Americans, at moderate salaries.
The Donald Trump administration states it’s doing away with quick-turn processing so it can sort by a huge backlog of applications & work to “reduce overall H-1B processing times.”
Immigration lawyers told Saturday that the move would leave several people & companies in limbo.
“The message specifically mentions they want to bring down the backlogged time, but I worry about my clients, employers and individuals who will be affected by these delays,” told Tahmina Watson of Watson Immigration Law. “This suspension is not good for American businesses by any means.”
Watson said, “I strongly suspect delays will continue.”
H-1Bs are in the middle of controversy as President Donald Trump vows to deliver on campaign commitments to decrease immigration.
There are many efforts in Congress to improve how the H-1B program runs. One bipartisan bill would improve the program by directing officials to give visas on merit, rather than by lottery.
Neil Ruiz at George Washington University told the Donald Trump administration’s decision to hold expedited processing could be the initial step away from the lottery system.
“I think that removing premium processing may allow the administration to pick who to prioritize in the wait times for H-1B visas,” Ruiz said to CNNMoney.
Watson proclaimed the move a “big deal” because certain “employers and individuals require premium processing in certain situations.”
Without it, she told, employers can’t “plan for their businesses and act accordingly.”
Rural communities need foreign doctors
Some cities of rural America, rely heavily on immigrant medical professionals.
Numerous of doctors from overseas want H-1B visas to remain working in the United States after the end of their J-1 visas — which allow them to finish a residency program.
Every year, more than 6,000 medical trainees from international countries join in medical residency programs by J-1s, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges.
For several doctors, time is of the essence.
Once they finish their residency, physicians can revert to their home nation for 2 years before becoming eligible to re-enter the United States. over a different immigration pathway, such as an H-1B visa, or they can utilize for a J-1 visa waiver.
In the modern 15 years, H-1B visas have allotted 15,000 foreign doctors to get to American to work in underserved areas.
“The lack of premium processing would mean that there would be a delay for the doctors to start working in the communities they wish to serve, which have a lack of physicians in the first place,” told Ahsan Hafeez, a doctor who is in Pakistan awaiting approval of his H-1B so he can begin working in Arkansas.
Tech firms depend on foreigner workers
It’s not just the medical field that relies on expedited processing of H-1B visas. The visas are a necessary in Silicon Valley. Big firms tell they want the visas to bring in engineers & other high-skilled workers they can’t find in the United States.
The removal of expedited processing will leave tech firms in limbo about the situation of critical employees, told Bay Area immigration attorney Martin Lawler.
“When you’re planning a project, you want to make sure you have the necessary people and skills to get it out on time,” Lawler told.
India, the birthplace of many skillful immigrants who come to the United States on H-1B visas, is upholding for an economic impact. Local news articles have already warned that the change by the Donald Trump administration will suitable take a toll on IT firms next quarter. It’s normal for Indian IT companies to transfer workers to U.S. at the last minute to work on plans.
Processing change could hurt students
H-1B visas are applied by all manner of international workers — journalists, entertainers, professors, and researchers. Any could be hurt by a pause in visa processing.
But higher wait times could “be particularly harmful” for students, told Watson, the immigration lawyer.
That’s as graduating students who are in the United States with an another type of visa — such as a J-1 or F-1 — cannot wait while their H-1B status is pending, she told, and they can’t begin working. They have to turn to their home nation while expecting approval.
Presently those waits could get even longer. Watson told the backlog of regular process cases is so big that officials are currently looking at papers submitted in July 2016.