Suspension of premium processing to cover more H-1B petitions; The agency says the move is to reduce delay.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services has extended the temporary suspension of premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions. The agency said on Tuesday that, beginning September 11, 2018, it will expanding the premium suspension of premium processing to include more petitions.
USCIS said it expected the suspensions to last until Feb. 19, 2019, and will notify the public on its website “before resuming premium processing for these petitions.”
The suspension of premium processing for fiscal year 2019 cap-subject H-1B petitions was scheduled to end on September 10, 2018, but now it has been extended for another 161 days.
USCIS said the expanded suspension applies to “all H-1B petitions filed at the Vermont and California Service Centers” excluding some cap-exempt filings.
The agency said the extension of suspension is to process “long-pending petitions, which we have been unable to process due to the high volume of incoming petitions and premium processing requests over the past few months.”
It added that it wanted to be “responsive to petitions with time-sensitive start dates” and prioritize “adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240-day mark.”
“Because of extreme vetting of H-1B and various other petitions, USCIS cannot keep up with the declared processing time,” a Washington-area immigration attorney told the American Bazaar on the condition of anonymity. “They are suffering from necessary resources. More scrutiny means more human hands.”
The attorney added that “it is going to get worse” and people may end up waiting “for months and months and months.”
The lawyer warned: “I do not see the situation changing in the near future. We are going to have a breakdown in the system. Even in good times, there was backlog, now in some areas it has doubled and tripled.”