Tuesday, December 1, 2020

H1B Visa rules changed, applying cost hiked, processing delayed

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The government of the United States has proposed changes in the H1B visa rules from this season.

The changes shall not be a piece of good news for Indian techies as already hit hard by higher rejection rates, H1B visa applicants from India might have a tough time this year as the Trump administration has changed rules for application for applying and processing of the non-immigrant visa.

The US citizenship and immigration services (USCIS) will close the initial registration for H1B visa on March 20 while applications will start from April 1.

The new rules will increase the cost of applying for H1B visa and will also delay its processing time.

The H1B visa process that used to run from the early week of March to second week of April will now extend from early March to at least the end of July, said New York-based immigration law firm, Davies and associates, as per the new rules.

This comes as not so good news for the Indian IT sector as it could face a delay in the grant of work visas to the USA.

The Indian IT services companies under the current administration have seen rejection rates of 24% in 2019 and now with the changing process, the Indian IT firms will be more careful while filling their applications.

It is to be seen from the USCIS data how the H1B visa rejection rate for Indian IT companies like Infosys and Wipro is around 50% while for big American companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Google, the rate varies between 2–8%.

The US government has kept H1B visa to 85,000 every year, out of which around 70% goes to Indians. This is clear that the list is dominated by techies.

The Increased Application Cost –

The cost of applying for an H1B visa application for big companies employing at least 50 people in the United States, out of which more than 50% are in H – 1B, L1L orL – 1B nonimmigrant status, has gone up to $4000.

Besides this, all the employees will have to pay a $10 registration fee for each applicant.

How does the Process Works –

An electronic registration is now required by every petitioner submitting their H1B visa petition.

The system now demands an advance registration by the employers of the names of the employees who need a work permit.

After it is done, the USCIS will shortlist the registered candidates who can apply for the Visa. This might further amplify the process, the registrations and thus the delay.

There could also be trained as to how specialty occupation is defined in the context of the H1B visa, which may lead to increased scrutiny of applications, said Davis.

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