USCIS Not Considering H-1B Visa Rule Changes
President Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” initiative aims to stop hundreds of thousands of foreign workers, predominantly Indian IT professionals, from keeping their H-1B visas while their green card applications are pending. The goal is to impose new restrictions to prevent abuse and misuse of H-1B visas, aside from ending the provision of granting an extension for those who already have a green card.
The H-1B visa is generally issued for three to six years to employers to hire a foreign worker in a specialty that requires theoretical or technical expertise. H-1B holders who have started the green card process can often renew their work visas indefinitely. The idea of Trump’s initiative is to cause these workers to “self-deport” themselves to open up jobs for Americans.
However, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials have clarified they are not considering a regulatory change that would compel H1-B visa holders to leave the U.S. after the six-year limit. Additionally, such a change would not likely result in these H-1B visa holders having to leave the country since employers could request extensions in one-year increments—instead of the current three-year extensions.
What About H-1B Visa Hopefuls?
Despite the latest announcement by the USCIS, U.S. visa laws have become rigorous since Trump took office in January 2017. One main indicator is an increase in “request for evidence” (RFEs), which are notices the USCIS department sends to H-1B applications requesting further information. According to USCIS data, from last January to November, the office issued approximately 40 percent more RFEs than in all of 2016, and 65 percent more than in all of 2015. An RFE makes the visa process longer and more expensive.
H-1B hopefuls must also pay attention to approval rates. USCIS approved over 90 percent of H-1B applications it processed in fiscal 2017, but that rate declined below 85 percent in the first two months of fiscal 2018.
At Verma Law Firm, our highly specialized professionals have a comprehensive understanding of the U.S. immigration laws to help you navigate the complexities of the system. Our San Jose immigration lawyer will ensure that you H-1B petition process goes smoothly and maximize your chances of approval.