No Salary For 13,300 Employees Of US Visa Agency; H1B Visa Applications Will Delay
Another alarming news for the Indian techies who are planning to travel the US as US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) is supposed to furlough its two-third of 20,000 employees from August 30.
How Would This Affect?
As per the reports, this could further increase the waiting time for people who have pending immigration petitions and applications and in turn delay the work visas by more than a year.
Currently, the USCIS is struggling in keeping its operations up and running due to insufficient funds.
The USCIS mainly works in providing citizenship, visas and greencards.
According to Sophie Alcorn, “Potential furloughs in the US could dramatically increase wait times for people with pending immigration petitions and applications,” who is an attorney in Immigration and Nationality Law, State of California Board of Legal Specialization, Alcorn Immigration Law.
While talking about the future repercussion, the Migration Policy Institute said, “For each month the USCIS furlough lasts, 75,000 applications for various immigration benefits will not be processed.”
Why Would This Happen?
Prior to this, the US President Donald Trump had signed two proclamations in April and June month.
Which resulted in suspension of green card processing and also banned the entry of non-immigrant workers such as H-1B visa holders into the US.
These decisions were taken considering the need to create more jobs for American citizens which have been laid off and replaced by H1-B visa holders earlier.
But it is noteworthy here that even before the virus spread, the USCIS had a considerable backlog.
So far, the current backlog has over 10 lakh foreign nationals and their family members who are lawfully staying in the US.
As Alcorn emphasised, “Responses could take several months or even more than a year,”, and furloughs will further delay the process notably.
According to Prashanthi Reddy, immigration lawyer from New York-based Law Offices of Prashanthi Reddy, it is already taking 8-12 months for them to process some H-1B cases, and after the processing times increase, the position could no longer be available,”.
Visa Fees Hike
Currently, the US government is working towards resolving the issue and they have reopened the H-1B filing window on August 14.
So the petitions can be filed from August 17 till November 16.
Apart from this there is also an increase in visa fees for H-1 and L1 visa categories by 21 percent and 75 percent respectively.
This is also discouraging as a CFO of a mid-sized firm said, “Remote working is the new norm and feet on the ground can be minimized considerably in comparison to the past,”.
Although, there has been some exemption given by the Trump administration last week for some categories like healthcare.
Now employees can also resume their ongoing employment in the US in the same position with the same employer, along with their spouses and children.