US commences H1-B visa application process

 Tuesday, April 3, 2018 


H-1B visaThe US government has started accepting applications for the much sought-after H-1B visas on 2nd April.


And since the administration policy of the US government has emerged tighter, this process is going to be the toughest in the last few years.


The US government has not lowered the cap on the number of H1-B visa it would be granting, this long-term work visa category has come under strong scrutiny since the US President Donald Trump had assumed office in January 2017.


Right from increased paperwork to stringent evaluation, applicants from now onwards have to confront with quite a few challenges to procure H-1Bs for the fiscal year 2019.


The greatest impact of such changes would perhaps be felt by the Indian IT sector.


Here are a few of the most common challenges likely to be faced following the recent US visa rules:


Increased paperwork


During February, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had issued a memo with an aim to guide its officers that stated that they might ask applicants to submit ‘detailed documentation to make sure that a legitimate employer-employee relationship is maintained while an employee is working at a third-party work site.


Limited period


Applicants, this time might have to offer evidence of actual work assignments including milestone tables, marketing analyses, cost-benefit analyses, funding documents, itinerary and contracts.


While so far the H1-B visa used to be granted for three years at a time and was extendable for another three, the USCIS has suggested that currently the tenure might have to be minimized.


No special services


On 20th March, the USCIS had declared that it has suspended the premium processing of H-1B visas till 19th September.


This service permitted applicants to steadily track the process from the usual three to six months to just a little over two weeks by paying an additional fee of $1,225. As per the authorities, the suspension is to clear a backlog. And it is likely to adversely impact Indian IT firms like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Infosys since it would struggle with resource planning.


Consistent worries


Not only are the H-1B workers on the receiving end of the uncertainty triggered by the latest stringent Visa rules but even the US workers who are spouses of H-IB workers are confronting with several restrictions.


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