(HTW) – The United States has temporarily suspended the H-1B visa issuance process, eliminating the option of shorter waiting times in the program that helps highly qualified foreigners work in US companies.
In the current system, companies applying to obtain H-1B visas for potential employees may make an extra payment in order to expedite the process, which is known as premium processing.
Premium processing charges an additional $ 1,225 and ensures a response by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) within 15 days or reimbursement of the fee. The usual process of applying for H-1B visas – when it is not premium – takes between three and six months.
The suspension will be effective as of April 3 and could be extended for six months, according to the USCIS.
The change comes when it is said that President Donald Trump is drafting a new version of his presidential decree that barred the entry into the United States of citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, which was temporarily suspended by a court.
The new ban will exclude visa holders.
The H1-B visa program is the main option for foreign workers highly qualified to work in US companies. Several sectors, including those in technology, engineering, journalism, medicine and education, compete each year for the 85,000 visas offered by the program, which are granted by drawing lots.
Although visas are used to fill capacity gaps in the United States, Trump has referred to an abuse of the program.