International

US suspends fast processing of H-1B visa applications

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Washington: Foreigners aiming for temporary jobs at high tech US companies will undergo a longer visa approval process after the Donald Trump administration announced it will temporarily suspend expedited applications for H-1B visas.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said on Friday that starting April 3 it will suspend “premium processing” for up to six months.

Under this expedited procedure, applicants can be eligible for visa approvals within 15 days, instead of a regular review period that can last for up to a few months.

The H-1B non-immigrant visa allows US companies to employ graduate-level workers in several specialised fields, including information technology, medicine, engineering and mathematics.

The US currently caps H-1B visas at 65,000 a year, with an additional 20,000 allowed for those who have earned advanced college degrees in the United States.

The visa is valid for three years but can be extended for an additional three years.

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