It was recently been announced that the United States Department of State intends to resume domestic visa renewals for certain categories of the H-1B visa including those with specialized skills in the IT field. Essentially, IT workers that obtain a temporary nonimmigrant work visa from India and China will no longer have to leave the country to undergo the renewal process. Keep reading to learn what exactly this update will entail for IT workers during the renewal process and discover how a proficient Middlesex County, New Jersey Business Immigration Lawyer can help you.
What is the H-1B program?
The H-1B visa is a temporary nonimmigrant work visa that allows companies and employers in the U.S. to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require highly specialized knowledge in a specific field. To qualify for this type of temporary work visa, individuals must have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent education. Typically, U.S. employers hire foreign workers in specialty occupations such as IT because they cannot otherwise find U.S. workers with the same set of skills and abilities needed to fulfill the occupational role. In addition to having specialized knowledge in a specific field, they must have a U.S. employer must sponsor them and prove they are needed for the specialty occupation. Ultimately, IT workers qualify for the H-1B visa.
What are the U.S. plans to resume domestic visa renewals for IT workers?
In the past, IT workers that possessed H-1B visas after their authorized period of stay of three years expired would have to travel back to their country of origin to apply for a renewal of their temporary nonimmigrant work visa. Serious immigration backlogs have caused a major delay in foreign workers’ renewal applications being accepted. As a result, instead of having foreign workers leave the country and wait for their application to be processed to re-enter the U.S., the State Department has decided to resume domestic visa renewals. Essentially, this means IT workers and other H-1B visa holders do not have to leave the country to renew their work visas. They can apply for renewals from within the U.S. This type of domestic renewal was implemented in the past but was suspended in 2004 by Congress when the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002 was enforced. Essentially, this act required the State Department to collect biometric information about H-1B applicants. It was determined that the collection of this information was easier if the foreign worker returned to their country of origin. However, the State Department has reconsidered this action and now plans to resume domestic renewals of certain categories of the H-1B visa.
For more information on how the State Department’s plans may affect the H-1B visa renewal process, contact a trusted Middlesex County, New Jersey business immigration lawyer. Our firm can walk you through the domestic renewal process.