New Delhi, March 25: The H-1B visa filing for the year 2018 will kick start from April 2 onward. The government will start accepting H-1B petitions subject to Financial Year 2019 from the aforementioned date according to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website. The filing for H-1B visa process is all set to begin after the Trump administration announced new rules for H-1B visa holders last month. This halt in the H-1B visa process would be detrimental for IT companies like Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) which are among the biggest beneficiaries of the H-1B visa. It must be noted that companies or individuals can file an H-1B petition not before six months of the employment start date which is requested for the beneficiary. Let us have a look at some of the recent changes that have been announced regarding the H-1B visa process.

Premium processing for H-1B Visa has been temporarily suspended: The USCIS has suspended the premium processing for H-1B visas temporarily. Till then, employers may submit a request to expedite an H-1B petition if they meet the criteria put up on the website.

The Premium Processing Services offers expedited processing for certain visas pertaining to particular employment-based petitions and applications. Also, they seek more than tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China. 

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) defers rollout of proposal to bar spouses of H1-B visa holders from taking up jobs: What comes as a breather among all the changes is that authorisations have been given to spouses who are eligible for working. Introduced in May 2015, this has significantly a fair portion of Indians.

Time period of minimum 3 years for H-1B visa removed: The H-1B visa would be granted for only the duration for which a beneficiary will have to do the specified work. New rules state that one may not get the initial full three years too.

Transition from H-1B to a Green Card becomes tougher: H-1B visa users will now have a tough time in getting their green cards as shorter duration makes the process even more tedious.

Thin line between qualification and work: Granting of visas will now be upon the discretion of immigration workers since it’ll be difficult to decide the distinction between qualification and work.

Paper work to increase manifolds: Detailed documentation of the client’s assignment will be in place and hence more paperwork will take place.

Employees on H-1B visas cannot be moved between projects and companies: Companies will have to prove that the employees on H-1B visas have specific and no speculative qualifying assignments for the entire visa period. This suggests that such employees cannot be moved between projects and companies once they are in the US.

More details like nature of work, etc. to be provided by Companies: Companies would need to share additional evidence, like details in the work orders or in letters from the end client regarding the beneficiaries’ work. Additional information, such as a detailed description of the specialized duties the client will perform, qualifications required, duration of the job, salary, hours worked, etc.