From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...
Employers seeking high-skill guestworker visas likely will have to wait to be able to get their petitions fast-tracked this year, but that’s not out of the ordinary.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will announce when “premium processing” will become available for employers whose petitions are subject to the annual cap on H-1B visas, the agency said during a March 6 public teleconference.
But unlike last year, the agency won’t suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions, USCIS spokeswoman Joanne Talbot told Bloomberg Law March 7.
Premium processing allows employers to pay an extra fee for their petitions to be processed within 15 days.
A good number of employers pursue premium processing, Andrew Greenfield of Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy in Washington told Bloomberg Law March 7. That includes about half of Greenfield’s clients.
But not everyone seeks premium processing right away, he said. There’s no restriction on when in the H-1B process an employer can ask for premium processing, so some employers wait until they need to speed things up, Greenfield said.
It’s common practice for USCIS to temporarily suspend the availability of premium processing to complete the intake and lottery process for the visas. For the past several years, employers have submitted around 200,000 H-1B petitions despite only 85,000 visas being available each year.
In 2016, for example, premium processing started May 12, a little more than a month after employers were first allowed to send their petitions to USCIS.
In 2017, the agency took the more unusual step of suspending premium processing for all H-1B petitions, and for an indefinite period of time. USCIS said it needed to do so to have the capacity to clear a backlog of H-1B petitions, especially pending petitions to extend the status of foreign workers who already were granted H-1Bs.
The fast-track option was phased back in over the next few months, becoming available again Oct. 3 for all H-1B petitions.
H-1B petitions filed by institutions of higher education, their affiliated or related nonprofits or nonprofit research organizations, and government research organizations aren’t subject to the annual cap and should be able to seek premium processing as normal this year.
Premium processing doesn’t increase the likelihood that an H-1B petition will get selected in the lottery or that it will get approved, Greenfield said.
But the “one potential advantage” is that employers that file for premium processing right off the bat usually hear first whether their petitions were selected in the lottery, he said. “If they can know that information a month earlier,” it allows for more time to come up with plan B if the petition isn’t selected, he said.
Premium processing also can speed up the process if an employer receives a request for evidence, a more likely occurrence following last year’s spike in RFEs.
With premium processing, USCIS has 15 days to approve the petition or send an RFE, Greenfield said, adding that it’s “quite rare” for a petition to be denied without an RFE being sent first. An employer will be given anywhere between a few weeks to a few months to respond, and then USCIS has another 15 days to make a final decision, or refund the employer’s premium processing fee, he said.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)