USCIS Resumes Limited H-1b Premium Processing
July 24th, 2017
Limited H-1b Premium Processing Resumes for Some Cap Exempt Employees
USCIS today announced that it will immediately begin accepting Premium Processing requests on behalf of H-1b workers employed at universities, nonprofits affiliated with universities, and nonprofit or government research institutions. The decision responds to concerns raised by the academic community regarding the availability of teaching and research staff as the new academic year approaches in August.
USCIS also indicated that it would resume premium processing "for petitions that may also be exempt if the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap-exempt institution, organization or entity." This presumably refers to the USCIS policy that an employee of an H-1b cap exempt institution may be employed concurrently by a cap subject employer, even if the individual has never been "counted" toward the annual cap (e.g., been selected in the annual H-1b lottery.) As a practical matter, this may be of limited utility, as workers already employed at a cap exempt institution could begin concurrent employment with a for-profit employer upon the filing of a "port" petition.
USCIS also stated that it will more broadly resume H-1b Premium Processing "as workloads permit". When imposing the suspension in April 2017, USCIS anticipated resuming all H-1b premium processing by October 2017. Last month it resumed accepting premium cases for the very narrow Conrad 30 physicians program.