Premium processing of H-1B visa petitions was suspended for up to six months, US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced Friday. Premium processing allows for visas to be processed within 15 calendar days rather than months for H-1Bs, which are used by companies, including staffing firms, to bring in highly skilled individuals such as IT workers. However, there are concerns the move adds uncertainty to the visa situation and that it may be a first step to other actions.
“Anything that removes tools that make the processing of employment authorization smoother and faster, is counterproductive to organizations that are in the business of facilitating the acquisition of human resources,” wrote Jose Olivieri, partner with law firm Michael Best & Friedrich. “Suspending premium processing slows down the process of people having certainty regarding their employment authorization and creates hesitation and perhaps even the unwillingness of people to change jobs.”
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