The US Government has suspended fast track visa applications for its H-1B visas. This comes in the wake of a huge amount of uncertainty surrounding the future of the H-1B visa category following the election of Donald Trump last year. It is still unclear how H-1B visas will be affected by the Trump administration but already foreign tech companies and workers operating in the United States had been concerned that the visa category would end forcing some tech companies to relocate to more accommodating countries.
Starting on 3rd April the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will suspend the so called ‘premium processing’ for the H-1B visas for an initial period of six months. Under the ‘premium processing’ applicants had been able to get a visa granted within fifteen days rather than the few months it can take under the regular process.
The H-1B visa is designed for foreign workers to work in the US for companies working within tech, medicine, engineering and maths and has been a vital source of skilled labour for many companies. A total of 65,000 visas are allowed each year to be granted but recent reports have stated that the visas will be severely restricted or even abolished under the new visa regime imposed by the Trump administration.
The government has said that this is a temporary measure allowing for the backlog of applicants to be processed but many are concerned that this is the beginning of the end of the H-1B visa leaving many companies and workers unsure of their future. The Indian tech sector is particularly concerned with the situation in the US and many are seeking alternative arrangements and look elsewhere for places to relocate should the work conditions deteriorate. Workers hoping to travel on a H-1B visa are advised to check the status and allow more time for processing.