There is a suspension in place for premium processing of H-1B visas, which affects both employers who hired individuals via PERM advertising and their employees. Even when this suspension will end, it is a good idea to know what to do in case it happens again, just so that one will be prepared.
Those who have H-1B status can apply to extend their status 6 months before that status expires. However, current processing times take as long as 6-7 months to complete, which means that even the employer who had brought the employee in the country via PERM advertising applies on the first day when they are eligible, they may not get approval before the H-1B status expires.
Now, USCIS regulations ensure that those with H-1B status can remain in the US for up to 240 days after their status expired, and their extension petition was filed in due time. Still, some states do not give a new driver’s license without the individual having been approved for status. Not only this, but if the H-1B individual has to travel internationally in that time, they will be unable to return to the US.This can be quite problematic for those companies that need their PERM advertising hires to travel internationally for work or for those employees who need to travel for personal reasons.
The H-1B visa has a wonderful characteristic that is known as portability, which means that the visa is attached to the person, not the position. This means that an individual can change their employer if the new employer filed an H-1B with the USCIS. Now, since there are more denials than there used to be, more and more holders of this status do not want to move to another employer until after their change of employer status was approved. However, because premium processing is no longer in place, it can mean 6-7 months of waiting.
This change makes it more difficult for employers to get the best for their business. The pools of talent are being reduced because of the H-1B cap on the petitions. In addition, those who already have this status don’t want to risk changing their employer in case their petition is denied.
Since premium processing is suspended, this can lead to a lot of difficulties for companies and their employees to keep doing business as usual. Understanding what those issues are is a huge step in being prepared and figuring out what one can do to overcome them.