“We will temporarily suspend premium processing for all FY 2019 cap-subject petitions, including petitions seeking an exemption for individuals with a US master’s degree or higher,” the USCIS said in a statement released on March 20, 2018.
The suspension of premium processing of H-1B visa petitions, said the US agency, is expected to last until September 10, 2018.
During this time, the USCIS will continue to accept premium processing requests for H-1B petitions that are not subject to the FY 2019 cap.
The US government had earlier notified an annual cap of for the H-1B category at 65,000. Not all H-1B non-immigrant visas are subject to this annual cap, the agency states on its website.
“We will notify the public before resuming premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions or making any other premium processing updates,” it noted.
During the temporary suspension of H-1B visa petitions, the US will reject “any Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, filed with an FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petition. If a petitioner submits one combined check for the fees for Form I-907 and Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, we will reject both forms.”
While Form I-907 is used for request of premium processing service, Form I-129 is used by petitioners filing on behalf of a nonimmigrant worker to go to the US temporarily to perform services or labour, or to receive training.
The USCIS said that during temporary suspension of premium processing, a petitioner may submit a request to expedite an FY 2019 cap-subject H-1B petition if he or she meets the expedite criteria.
H-1B visa is popular among Indian IT professionals. It 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 including India and China. H-1B specialty occupations may include fields such as science, engineering and information technology, according to the USCIS.
The US agency also said that by temporarily suspending premium processing, it will be able to process long-pending petitions.