The Trump administration’s decision to halt expedited processing of H-1B visas could abruptly disrupt the plans of thousands of immigrant workers in a range of businesses from technology to health care, immigration experts say.
H-1B visas allow employers to bring in skilled foreign workers; about 85,000 will be given out this year. The visas are in high demand and given out by lottery. It can take six months or longer for an application to be reviewed.
But the government announced Friday that, as of April 3, it will suspend the “premium processing” option, which ensures an application will be reviewed within 15 days. It costs $1,225.
The Trump administration says it’s doing away with quick-turn processing so it can sort through a large backlog of applications and try to “reduce overall H-1B processing times.”
Immigration lawyers said Saturday that the change will leave many people and companies in limbo.
“The message specifically mentions they want to bring down the backlogged time, but I worry about my clients, employers and individuals who will be affected by these delays,” said Tahmina Watson of Watson Immigration Law. “This suspension is not good for American businesses by any means.”