USCIS SUSPENDING PREMIUM PROCESSING FOR H1B VISAS!

As of April 3, 2017, USCIS will suspend premium processing for any H1b filings.  This means any H1b petitioner who files after this date will not be able to pay the additional $1,225 to get the processing expedited.  This is a huge blow causing unreasonable waiting times for not only the applicants, but the companies that are trying to fill positions that they cannot get filled otherwise.  It is already a travesty that only 65,000 H1b visas are available (with an additional 20,000 for those who have graduated from US Master Degree programs) to employers nationwide, but now they could be forced to wait months to even know the status of the petitions filed.  Worse yet, they are not only suspending premium processing for the H1b petitions that are subject to the cap of 85,000, but also cap-exempt petitions!  In this group are foreign medical doctors and graduates completing their medical residencies and fellowships in the US.  Most of these doctors must apply for a waiver to stay in the United States and practice in areas that are low income and underserved.  Therefore, suspending the premium processing option for this group of physicians puts our US citizens in harm’s way.  What about that US citizen child who needs an emergency surgery in an area of the US that does not have enough surgeons?   If not for this program, many cities across the US would not have doctors available to treat patients, and now, with not allowing the premium processing for this group, these communities will have to wait even longer than they already do, even though there are foreign doctors willing to work in these areas today. These delays hurt not the foreign nationals, but thousands of US citizens nationwide.  What are they thinking?  Why would they put our own citizens at risk when foreign physicians who are educated in the US are volunteering to work in areas that have medical needs which our own physicians cannot handle! Does this make any sense?  Whoever made this decision did not think this through and does not understand the critical need we have for foreign talent.

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