Accelerated “premium processing” for H-1B applications will resume next month, the federal government announced this week.

The $1,440 service, which buys employers a 15-calendar-day processing period, will become available starting in June, in stages depending upon visa type, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration announced.

The agency in March said premium processing would not be available at the April 1 start of the visa-processing season to help cut processing times. Citizenship and Immigration has temporarily suspended premium processing at the start of each H-1B application period since 2017.

For H-1B applications subject to the annual 85,000 cap on new visas, including for foreign citizens on F-1 student visas, premium processing will become available June 22, the agency said in an advisory. When the agency suspended premium processing this year, it initially said the service would resume by May 27 for F-1 holders. But while it will miss that deadline, the June 22 resumption of premium processing for other cap-subject applications will come a week earlier than the agency had previously specified.

For applications on behalf of workers who have previously been counted toward the cap, the premium service will become available June 8.

The H-1B visa, intended for jobs requiring specialized skills, is heavily relied upon by Silicon Valley’s technology giants, which push to expand the annual cap, arguing they need more visas to secure the world’s top talent. Critics cite reported abuses, and contend that outsourcers, staffing companies and major tech firms use it to supplant U.S. workers, drive down wages and facilitate outsourcing.

The administration of President Donald Trump has promised to reform the visa, and has dramatically increased denial rates for outsourcers and staffing companies, but has not followed through on pledges to redefine what work qualifies for the visa, or to strip employment authorization from spouses of H-1B holders on track for green cards.

Some H-1B visas — for institutes of higher education, government organizations and non-profits — are not subject to the annual cap. Premium processing will start June 8 for already-submitted cap-exempt applications awaiting adjudication. On June 15, the service will resume for cap-exempt applications filed June 8 or later.




By Richard Moran

Richard Moran loves to write about sports with the Golden State Online. Before that, he worked as a senior writer at ESPN. Richard grew up in San Diego and graduated from the University of San Diego in 2004, after which he worked as an editor for five years.

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