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US resumes fast processing of H-1B visas after 5 months

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Washington: The United States has resumed the processing of H-1B work visas after a gap of five months. The processing of visas was suspended five months ago following a huge rush of applications for H-1B popular among Indian IT professionals.

In a major relief to Indian IT professionals on Tuesday, the US citizenship and immigration services (USCIS) said that it has resumed fast processing of H-1B visas subject to the fiscal year 2018 cap that has been set at 65,000.

Premium processing also resumed for the annual 20,000 additional petitions that are set aside to hire workers with a US higher educational degree. “If the 15- calendar day processing time is not met, the agency will refund the petitioner’s premium processing service fee and continue with expedited processing of the application,” the USCIS said.

The USCIS also previously resumed premium processing H-1B petitions filed on behalf of physicians under the Conrad 30 waiver programme, as well as interested government agency waivers and for certain H-1B petitions that are not subject to the cap.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

Earlier this month, a top US official had claimed that Indians were the largest beneficiaries of H-1B visa programme after US President Donald Trump came to power. Over the past nine months, the grant of H-1B category visas for Indians increased by six per cent, the official said, adding that 70 per cent of the total visas issued under the scheme went to Indians.

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