A new announcement from the Government of the United States has been released stating that new applications for the H-1B visa for entry in 2018 will be accepted from 3rd April 2017. This is good news for those that believed that the H-1B visa category would be permanently suspended or radically overhauled by the Trump administration. Following the suspension of fast tracking visa applications the government have said that no applicants would be accepted prior to 3rd April to allow the backlog of applicants to be cleared before the new rush of applicants arrives.
New applications received from 3rd April will be processed as soon as possible but they are for entry to the United States from 1st October, the start of the new fiscal year, and not before.
Further announcements made stated that the filing fee has gone up and now stands at $460 and the 14 day grace period for dishonoured cheques will no longer apply. The fast track system will remain suspended until these visa applications are processed.
In a move that surprised most commentators the United States Immigration Services have left the skills category for the H-1B visa unchanged for the intake for the forthcoming year. This is a huge relief to many tech workers across the world along with tech companies based in the United States that rely on these workers to fill a substantial skills gaps.
Of course this is not the end of the troubles and there are still many concerns over the changes that are still on the table. Already the fast track process is impacting many firms and workers and it is expected that further changes and announcements will be made in which the H-1B visa will be changed or suspended in the future. Whilst this is good news for those reliant on the H-1B visa there are still uncertain times ahead.