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Companies adjust to changes in H-1B process

Companies in Florida and across the country are reacting to sudden and unexpected changes to the H-1B visa program. This program is particularly important to businesses hoping to hire workers with advanced skills from abroad, especially international students educated at U.S. universities. Less than two weeks before the April 1 deadline to file for an H-1B visa, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a new procedure for premium processing of applications. Many businesses make use of premium processing for a fee of $1,410, which guarantees that they will receive a decision on the application within 15 days.

Without premium processing, companies and applicants may need to wait 10 to 13 months to hear if their applications are approved. Under the new procedures, petitioners can request premium processing of their H-1B applications by filing Form I-907. The processing period will begin before or on May 20, rather than immediately after filing. Business clients are turning to law firms to help them revise existing applications to use premium processing instead.

The procedure change affects international graduate students the most. These students are studying advanced technology in U.S. universities and have obtained job offers from domestic companies. However, in order to take those jobs, they must have a successful H-1B visa application. Premium processing can help students to learn whether or not they were chosen in the H-1B lottery more quickly. At the same time, some immigration attorneys raised concerns about the changes, worrying that some students may begin receiving more scrutiny from immigration authorities.

The H-1B visa process can be an important part of the talent pipeline, especially for tech corporations that want to hire advanced international graduate students. An attorney who has experience in U.S. immigration law can advise companies about how they can adjust to the changes in order to advance their applications.

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