Some foreign guest workers in the US will be able to re-submit their applications for the H1-B visa, the most sought-after non-immigrant visa among Indian IT professionals, if their petition was solely rejected because it was based on the initial registration period, according to a federal agency.
According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), such re-submission of applications is for those whose applications have been rejected or administratively closed solely because the requested start date was after October 1, 2020.
The H-1B visa allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
Technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
“If your FY 2021 petition was rejected or administratively closed solely because your petition was based on a registration submitted during the initial registration period, but you requested a start date after Oct. 1, 2020, you may re-submit that previously filed petition, with all applicable fees,” USCIS said on Wednesday.
“Such petitions must be re-submitted before October 1, 2021. If properly resubmitted, we will consider the petition to have been filed on the original receipt date,” the USCIS said.
In 2020, USCIS implemented an electronic registration process for the H-1B cap.
Prospective petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions, including for beneficiaries eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must first electronically register and pay the USD 10 H-1B registration fee for each beneficiary.
“The electronic registration process has streamlined processing by reducing paperwork and data exchange and provided overall cost savings to employers seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions,” it said.
According to USCIS, for fiscal 2021, the number of petitions filed during the initial filing period was below the number projected as needed to reach the numerical allocations.
This discrepancy was likely related to multiple factors, including the economic, political, and public health uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the fact that FY 2021 was the first year that we implemented the electronic registration process.
“Therefore, in August 2020, we selected additional registrations that were held in reserve.
"The filing period for registrations selected in August ended on November 16, 2020,” it said.
“Some petitioners indicated a start date after October 1, 2020.
"We rejected or administratively closed those petitions because they were based on registrations submitted during the initial registration period but indicated a start date after October 1, 2020.
"Upon reconsideration, we no longer believe that the regulations required us to reject or administratively close those petitions,” the USCIS said.
The move comes days after the powerful US Chambers of Commerce launched a massive campaign to address the acute shortage of skilled and professional workforce in America.
The demand to increase the H-1B quota, which currently is at 65,000 and another 20,000 for those who have higher studies from the US, is part of the America Works campaign launched by the US Chambers of Commerce early this month.
“As we stand on the cusp of what could be a great American resurgence, a worker shortage is holding back job creators across the country,” US Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Suzanne Clark said.
“We must arm workers with the skills they need, we must remove barriers that are keeping too many Americans on the sidelines, and we must recruit the very best from around the world to help fill high-demand jobs,” Clark said.
Photograph: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters