The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services also announced the suspension of premium processing of all H-1B petitions which are subject to the annual caps.
The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality 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
The H-1B petition filing is for the fiscal year 2019 beginning October 1, 2018.
The suspension of premium processing of all H-1B petitions which are subject to the annual caps is expected to last until September 10, 2018. During this time, the USCIS said it will continue to accept premium processing requests for H-1B petitions that are not subject to the fiscal 2019 cap.
“We will notify the public before resuming premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions or making any other premium processing updates,” it said.
At the same time, the USCIS said while premium processing is suspended, a petitioner may submit a request to expedite an FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petition if it meets the expedited criteria.
The USCIS said that the temporary suspension of premium processing will help it reduce overall H-1B processing time.
By temporarily suspending premium processing, the USCIS said it will be able to process long-pending petitions, which it has currently 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 prioritise adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240-day mark.