What is H-1B Visa?

H-1B visa is an employment-based visa from the US, where it is provided to the foreign candidates/workers willing to work in a US company on certain conditions. This visa is provided to the candidates those who have a job offer from a US company which sponsors the visa application fee.

The employers (Firms/companies who are offering jobs) has to file an H-1B visa petition to the US that they are offering a job to the foreign candidate who needs a temporary work permit. Here employers must offer the job to the candidates, and apply for H-1B visa petition with US Immigration Department, in that process, employee (Candidate/Jobseeker) should attend an interview at US embassy in his country. This approved petition allows you to get the visa stamp and work in the US for that employer.

Here, the employer should file the petition only when he is unable to find an employee from the US-based worker, they have to submit a demonstration about the job offer, roles, responsibilities and why he was unable to find his desired candidate in the US. This visa is only for the jobs which fall under some specialized field/work areas including but not limited to architecture, computing, biotechnology, chemistry, engineering, statistics, journalism, physical sciences, medicine, and health: doctor, dentists, physiotherapists, nurses, etc. Along with these special occupations, this visa also applies to Fashion models and Defense cooperative research and development project workers.

Duration:

H-1B visa is valid only for 3 years but can be extended up to 6 years. There are some exceptions to extend the visa for even more years, but it depends on the type of work role & industry. For example, employees who are working for ‘Foreign US Department of Defense’ can extend their visa for up to 10 years.

If in case, the employee quits the job or dismissed by the employer, the employee has to be deported and return to their home country. But the employee will be given 60 days of grace period to get a new job from another employer, still have to apply for a change of the status. Other than that, the employee can utilize this grace period to apply for a green card application for PR visa (i.e. permanent residency.)

If the candidate is deported, the employer who offered the job should pay the return transportation charges unless the candidate voluntarily left the company himself. If in case, the employee got a new job offer from another employer after the deportation, the candidate has to apply for the H-1B visa again as the new applicant, and have to face the application process.

Family:

The H-1B visa is one of the only few visas, which allows the visa holder’s family to join and stay during visa duration. But the dependent family members (spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years.) has to apply for the H4 visa, which can be applied at the same time of H-1B visa application, or after the H-1B visa holder already in the US.

The family members (H4 Visa holders) can go to schools, can get the driver license, can open bank accounts and can even receive the Social Security Number. They can also legally work in the US by applying for an ‘Employment Authorization Document’ during their visa duration. But, whenever the H-1B visa holder’s visa expires, they should return to their home country along with the H-1B visa holder.

H-1B Visa The latest news:

Let’s take a look at the H-1B visa’s latest news of this year 2018 which includes ‘Spring 2018 Regulatory Agenda’, ‘Decline in H-1B Visa approvals’ and ‘Suspension of Premium Processing’.

Spring Regulatory Agenda (May 2018):

Let’s take a look at the H-1B visa’s latest news of this year 2018 which includes ‘Spring 2018 Regulatory Agenda’, ‘Decline in H-1B Visa approvals’ and ‘Suspension of Premium Processing’.

The US Federal Government Regulatory Agendas are the current government’s policies and regulations. Some changes in visas are also been proposed in these agendas by Trump’s government, which are affecting due to his “Buy American, Hire American” order. Coming to H-1B Visa’s latest updates, the following are included in the regulatory agendas of 2018 Spring.

  1. Pre-Registration & Cap-Registration:

The ’Department of Homeland Security’ (DHS) planning to revive its ‘2011 H-1B Visa Cap Registration Regulation’ due to the excess number of incoming H-1B visa applications. The purpose of this is to improve the procedure of managing & accepting the applications including the H1-B lottery process. These might lead to acceptance of visas to the candidates who are most skilled and high paid in the pool.

  1. Change of Definition:

The DHS is also planning to change the definition of the H-1B visa to ensure that this visa is only for the best and brightest foreign workers. At the same time, to ensure the US workers that the H-1B visa workers are only an additional workforce. There are many aspects to change the visa definition, which includes to reduce the fraud & misusing the H-1B. The processing fees of visa process might increase, and documentation work (i.e. paperwork) may increase during this process.

  1. US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Fee Adjustments:

This is a basic and a common review of their fee structure to make sure that these cover all their costs, but usually, these reviews leads to an increase in the fees.

Severe Declines and Possible Deportations of H-1B Approvals (July 2018):

During the month of July, there have been two major changes in the process of H-1B visa reported by some popular news media giants. First one is possible deportation, the second one is a severe decline in H-1B visa approvals.

Possible Deportation:

On 28 June 2018, a policy memorandum came into the public domain which changed the landscape of the H-1B visa extension process completely.

As per the policy memorandum which came into the public domain, changed the H-1B visa’s extension process completely. It states that USICS will issue ‘Notice to Appear’ (NTA) to the H-1B visa holders whose visa is expired or change of status is denied.

If ‘NTA’ (Notice to Appear) is issued, then the person has to wait until he gets notified by the immigration judge. This may take several months and the person is not allowed to work during this course of time. If everything is fine, the person will be granted voluntary departure, where the company (Visa Sponsored company) will not pay the return transportation charges. If the person didn’t appear in front of the immigration judge, it leads to a five-year ban, where he cannot enter the US.

Before this policy, the person whose H-1B visa extension denied or tenure of original H-1B visa expired can easily return their home country. After that, their employer can re-apply for the H-1B again in the next season.

A decline in H-1B Approvals:

According to the news reported by popular news media giants, the large number of H-1B visa petitions are getting denied for Indians when compared to the other nationalities. Even, the largest number of Indian applicants being enquired for ‘Request for Evidence’.

As per the reports by ‘National Foundation for American Policy’, there was 42% increase in the proportion of H-1B visa petitions denied for Indians from 3rd to 4th quarter in the year of 2017.

Suspension of Premium processing:

H-1B premium processing was a popular option provided to companies, where they can get the response to the petition within 15 days, but it is for those who can afford to pay extra fee $1225. But, on 28th August of this year, USCIS announced a temporary suspension.

As per the announcement, the purpose of this temporary suspension to process the long pending H-1B petitions and to reduce the overall time of all the H-1B processes. The major aim is to process all the petitions of which 240 days tenure period is approaching.

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