- Processing time increased from 2.9 months to 7.8 months
- Many companies have had to pause critical projects
- Visa applicants already in the USA face practical difficulties like license renewals
A study recently revealed that the time for an H1B visa processing has increased by about 169% in just the past four years. Read on to find out more.
The H1B visa to the USA is touted as one of the most difficult visas to get. According to a report by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the time taken to process these visa applications has increased by 169% over the past 4 years.
|Fiscal Year||Wait Period||Year On Year % Change||% Change Since 2014|
In 2014, an H1B visa applicant had to wait for a little less than 3 months for the application to be processed. As of September 2018, this waiting period has increased to about 8 months. The processing time for work permits and work visas is now believed to have reached crisis levels.
Indians and the H1B Visa Processing
Indians make up a large percentage of H1B visa applicants approved for ‘initial employment’. In the year ending September 2017, a total of 1.08 lakhs H1B visas were issued. 63% of these visas were issued to Indians.
Why the Delay in H1B Visa Processing?
One of the many reasons for the delayed processing is the suspension of premium processing for H1b visa applications. The suspension occurred in March 2018 and was expected to be lifted by September. However, the suspension has remained in place and is now expected to be lifted in February 2019.
The many policy changes instated by the Trump administration is another reason for the processing delays. Some believe that since the Trump administration has been unable to get the Congress to agree on limiting legal immigration to people with high skill sets, the immigration process has been drastically slowed down to achieve their objective.
Impact of Delayed H1B Visa Processing
The slow rate of processing has had many impacts on the US economy. For companies that hire these visa holders, the delayed processing has undermined their ability to retain essential workers and fill in gaps in the critical workforce.
Many companies have had to pause or postpone many critical projects because the expats working on them have not been given their visas on time.
For immigrants applying for H1B visas on intra-company transfers, the delay has led to a number of practical problems. For example, an immigrant cannot renew his/her driver’s license while the visa is being processed.
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