New H-1B visa rules cancel in-person interviews and lottery system to stay; Details here

New H-1B visa rules: The United States recently announced that it will waive the in-person interview requirement for a range of visa applicants throughout the year in 2022, including H-1B workers and students. In this regard, many note that India represents a huge portion of H-1B visa applicants. The decision was announced by the US State Department a day ago amid the Covid-19 pandemic situation. The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows U.S. businesses to employ foreign workers in skilled trades that require theoretical or technical expertise. The State Department also announced that consular offices will now be permitted.

“The Department of State recognizes the positive impact of temporary work visa holders on the US economy and is committed to making travel easier for non-immigrants and reducing visa wait times. We are pleased to announce that consular officials are now temporarily allowed, until December 31, 2022, to waive in-person interviews for certain non-immigrant work visas based on individual petitions and their eligible derivatives in the following categories : People exercising specialized professions (H- 1B visas), trainees or visitors in special education (H-3 visas), people transferred within the company (L visas), people with extraordinary capacities or achievements (O visas ), athletes, artists and artists (P visas) and participants in international cultural programs Exchange programs (Q visas), “the US State Department said in a statement.

Additionally, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has extended the current ability of consular officials to waive the in-person interview, until December 31, 2022, for the following other categories of non-immigrant visas: Temporary agricultural workers and not agricultural (H-2 visas), students (F and M visas) and student exchange visitors (Academic J visas), according to the press release. Embassies and consulates may still require an in-person interview on a case-by-case basis and depending on local conditions. Applicants should check the websites of embassies and consulates for more detailed information on this development, as well as the current state of operation and services, he said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in deep reductions in the Department’s visa processing capacity. As global travel rebounds, the United States is taking these temporary steps to further commit to safely and effectively reducing visa wait times while keeping national security a priority, he added. .

Joe Biden’s government has yet to implement the easier H-1B visa rules he promised when he was elected. However, on numerous occasions, the US president has indicated that he will bring the rules into force soon, resulting in an increase in visa applications.

The new authorization also applies to temporary workers applying for H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P and Q visas who meet certain conditions, in particular that they apply for a visa in their country of nationality or residence, the statement said.

On Monday, the US Department of the Interior announced it was withdrawing its proposal to change the selection criteria for the H-1B visa. Under the proposed rule, the United States intended to change the current lottery-based selection process to a salary-based one, which had shown glimmers of hope for India’s IT industry.

However, a U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California overturned the rule, as a result of which the plan was changed.

“The Department of Homeland Security has issued a final rule that removes the final rule to change the registration requirement for petitioners seeking to file H-1B petitions, also known as the H-1B final selection rule. , published Jan. 8, 2021. This rule was overturned by the US District Court for the Northern District of California, ”the US Citizenship and Immigration Services said in a note.

(With contributions from the agency)

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