01 Apr 2018
H-1B application process begins tomorrow; 'zero-tolerance' even for minor errors
Amidst unprecedented scrutiny by the Trump administration, the process of filing petitions for H-1B, considered as the most sought-after work visa among highly skilled Indian professionals, begins tomorrow for the fiscal year 2019.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the federal agency which is responsible for processing all H-1B visas, said that there will be "zero tolerance" by it for even minor errors.
Which petitions are subject to rejection?
Days ahead of the start of the H-1B visa application process for the fiscal year 2019, which begins on October 1, 2018, the USCIS warned that all duplicate applications would be subject to rejection.
Due to lottery system, duplicate petitions had become a normal practice.
USCIS has also said that it will reject H-1B petitions requesting an earlier employment start date of "ASAP".
Some form filing tips by the USCIS
The USCIS in its filing tips said, "Complete all sections of the form accurately. The petitioner should include a copy of the beneficiary's valid passport."
If the applicant is seeking an extension of stay or change of status, he/she should include the evidence to establish that the beneficiary will maintain a valid non-immigrant status through the employment start date being requested, USCIS added.
Indian companies required to pay $6000/application
Given the general campaign against highly skilled Indian professionals, the applications by Indian companies are likely to face a greater scrutiny of all these petitions.
As in the previous years, Indian companies would have to pay much more fee per application than those from other countries. On an average, they're required to pay $6,000 (Rs. 3.9L approximately) to the federal government per H-1B application.
For interview, applicants require social-media profile, emails, and phone-numbers
By the time the successful applicant appears before American diplomatic missions, embassies and consulates for a formal visa interview and stamping on their passport, they have to be ready with details of their social-media profile, emails, and phone numbers in the last five years.
On Friday, the State Department issued a formal notification in this regard which would come into force after 90 days.
Qualified Americans ignored due to foreign nationals' recruitment
Ahead of the H-1B visa filing process, the USCIS said, "Yet, too many American workers who are as qualified, willing, and deserving to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged (due to foreign nationals' recruitment)."
"Employers who abuse the H-1B visa program may negatively affect US workers, decreasing wages and opportunities as they import more foreign workers," the USCIS added.
What is H-1B visa?
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
How many H-1B visas are up for grabs for FY2019?
The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit cap of 65,000 visas each fiscal year as mandated by the Congress. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a US master's degree or higher are exempt from the cap.
What is H-1B visa lottery and what does process entail?
The H-1B visas are allotted through a lottery system each year. Each applicant is allotted a number and the lottery is conducted through a computerized system, which picks out these numbers at random.
USCIS temporarily suspends premium processing
Expecting a huge rush of application beginning tomorrow and greater scrutiny of all petitions, which would require much more man hours, USCIS has also temporarily suspended premium processing. "We will announce the start date for premium processing in the near future," USCIS said.