Starting April 3, the U.S. is putting the brakes on fast-tracking H-1B visas.
USCIS Will Temporarily Suspend Premium Processing for All H-1B Petitions - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
USCIS (the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) officials announced the temporary suspension on March 3. It doesn't stop businesses from applying for H-1B visas; the suspension only affects the "Premium Processing" request. This request makes foreign job candidates eligible for work visas within 15 days. Instead of the standard review period, which can take 2-6 months.
Why? It’s Time for Reform to Start
USCIS states the temporary suspension will help them catch up on an H-1B petition backlog. A perfectly valid reason.
However, the move does also assist President Trump in his goals of reforming the H-1B program. An article in the Christian Science Monitor on March 6 calls it, "the first move in a broader reform effort under President Trump, who in November vowed to crack down on 'all abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker.'"
What Will Happen? Slowing Down the Firehose of H-1B Job Replacement
Immigration lawyers—who make money directly off importing H-1B workers to replace U.S. workers—immediately cried foul. From the Twitter posts, you'd think entire industries will collapse on April 4.
The reality is, this just resets the H-1B process and forces some accountability. For the next 6 months, big H-1B proponents like Facebook can't toss an American worker out and have a foreign replacement in their seat within 2 weeks. It will take the full legal process to bring in H-1Bs. Extra time required.
All the while business will chug along. Customers will still need help. IT will need to run properly.
If only these businesses had a local source of IT talent upon which they could rely...
Keep Pumping the Brakes!
The Premium Processing suspension is clever politics. It uses the bureaucratic machine against itself, forcing delays which were already there back into play. Thereby stemming the tide of H-1Bs taking more U.S. IT jobs.
We say, keep pumping those brakes!