Suspension of premium processing could cause disruption for H-1B petitioners

7 Mar 17

UNITED STATES

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services decision to temporarily suspend premium processing of all H-1B petitions may cause significant disruption for companies and workers seeking H-1B status, BAL Partner Lynden Melmed told the Washington Post for an article published Monday.

Melmed, who previously served as chief counsel of USCIS, told the Post that the suspension of premium processing could prevent foreign graduates of U.S. universities from leaving the U.S. while they are awaiting a determination on their visa. The suspension could also impact H-1B renewal applicants if the automatic eight-month extension of their visas expires before H-1B status is renewed.

“The time frame for when an employee can start or whether they can continue working is now taken out of the company’s hands and subject entirely to government processing times,” Melmed told the Post.

BAL released a Q&A this week that addresses the government’s reasoning for suspending premium processing, whether the suspension will affect the fiscal year 2018 H-1B lottery and how the suspension will affect foreign graduates of U.S. universities and current H-1B holders, among other topics.

The Post report also touched on Silicon Valley tech companies’ response to President Donald Trump’s executive order revising a travel ban that had stalled in federal court. Many tech companies remain critical of Trump’s actions in this area.

The new executive order is set to take effect March 16 and calls for a 90-day halt to visa issuance to nationals of six countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Exemptions were put in place for visa holders, green card holders and dual nationals.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact BerryApplemanLeiden@balglobal.com.

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