By Grant Godfrey and John Gallini
Effective today, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is accepting upgrades to premium processing service for all H-1B petitions filed on or before December 21, 2018.
The suspension of premium processing for H-1B filings originated on March 20, 2018 when USCIS announced that it would temporarily suspend premium processing for any Cap-Subject H-1B petition with the expectation that premium processing for those cases would resume by September 10, 2018.
On August 28, 2018 USCIS then announced that it was extending the suspension of premium processing for Cap-Subject H-1B filings and also expanding it to all H-1B petitions, except for those filed by cap-exempt organizations or for H-1B petitions that were for continuation of employment without change, with the expectation that premium processing would be returned by February 19, 2019. On January 25, 2019, USCIS announced that it was resuming premium processing for Cap-Subject H-1B filings, and that it would make announcements about resuming premium processing for the remaining H-1B filings in the future.
While this announcement will be of some help to employers and H-1B workers, it is disappointing that the USCIS is not resuming premium processing for all H-1B filings as was promised over the summer. When USCIS extended and expanded the suspension of premium processing, it stated that by doing so it would be able to reduce a significant backlog of long-pending H-1B petitions. This goal has not been met and processing times for many H-1B petitions have actually lengthened to 12 months or more. Hopefully USCIS will recognize that its policies are actually counterproductive to its own well-being as an agency and once again extend in the near future the premium processing option to all H-1B petitions, regardless of filing date.
For more information, please contact any of our immigration lawyers at Parker Gallini.