USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for All H-1B Petitions – Could Earn Approx. $330,000,000 in PP Fees This Year
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will resume premium processing for all H-1B petitions beginning today, Tuesday, March 12, 2019. This is welcome news for many petitioners and beneficiaries who have been subjected to significant delays in processing, and certainly, great news for USCIS itself. There is no doubt that Premium Processing fees, increased to $1,410.00 per petition last year, are an important source of revenue for USCIS, given that is “funded primarily by immigration and naturalization benefit fees charged to applicants and petitioners.”
Premium Processing fees are technically optional, but frequently paid to increase the speed of adjudication from several months to potentially as little as two (2) to four (4) weeks. This program was suspended and unavailable for many H-1B categories over the last 6-12 months during which time such professionals and their employers nervously witnessed (or were impacted by) adjudication delays of approximately 4-12+ months, as well as USCIS’s frequent internal changes to its adjudication criteria which allowed it to issue bizzare numbers of queries and denials of H-1B petitions in 2018.
USCIS itself has generated both a pent-up demand and a critical need for its expensive premium processing program; as the January 20, 2019 research memo released by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) concluded, USCIS is “adjudicating cases at an unacceptably and increasingly slow pace…” More specifically, AILA’s research stated that:
The overall average case processing time surged by 46 percent over the past two fiscal years and 91 percent since FY 2014.
•USCIS processed 94 percent of its form types—from green cards for family members to visas for human trafficking victims to petitions for immigrant workers—more slowly in FY 2018 than in FY 2014.
•Case processing times increased substantially in FY 2018 even as case receipt volume appeared to markedly decrease.
Other agency data lays bare a USCIS “net backlog” exceeding 2.3 million delayed cases at the end of FY 2017. This total amounts to more than a 100 percent increase over the span of one year despite only a four percent rise in case receipts during that period.
The resumption of USCIS’s premium processing program will find many takers among H-1B professionals; and USCIS could gain approximately $330 million dollars in revenue from it this fiscal year. This approximation, by way of background, is arrived at by multiplying the average number of premium processing cases from FY2013-FY2017 as noted in the 08/31/2018 “Adjustment to Premium Processing Fee” Rule by the Homeland Security Department (238,784) by the current Premium Processing fee of $1,410.00 = $336,685,440.
|Fiscal year||Total Form I-907 receipts received|
|Source: USCIS, Office of the Chief Financial Officer.|
H-1B professionals and their employers have an interest in adjudications free of undue delay, and because they are effectively required to do so, they will pay more. These parties have been significantly impacted by “BAHA” Executive Order and thus appreciate the security that comes with a final decision “in-hand”, to travel, change employers, get married, renew a drivers license, or in general, to live a slightly less uncertain life on foreign soil. Ultimately, it is all about perspective: an American would likely consider paying “base” government fees of up to $6,450.00 per H-1B petition more than sufficient to fund an adjudication that is timely, just, and logical. But H-1B workers and their employers are overjoyed at the opportunity to pay $1,410.00 more to USCIS for nothing more than a timely decision.
American Immigration Lawyers Association asks Secretary of State John Kerry and other Officials to restore the dates in the September 9, 2015 Visa Bulletin
Earlier today, the American Immigration Lawyers Association indicated that it had sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, and Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz expressing great disappointment in the September 25, 2015, changes to the October 2015 Visa Bulletin, and asking that the dates published in the September 9, 2015, Visa Bulletin be restored. The revised October 2015 Visa Bulletin rolls back the “Dates for Filing” for several visa categories, and will force many individuals and families to continue to face lengthy wait times before they can submit their applications for permanent residence.
The Senate has moved S. 744, the bipartisan immigration reform bill forward with a vote of 67-27 marking a substantial milestone for this country. The bill contains provisions that would uplift millions of workers and their families by providing a path to legalization for the undocumented and much needed changes to the family and business immigration processes, while maintaining a focus on border security and immigration enforcement.
- Immigration Reform Passes Key Senate Test (fox17online.com)
- Senate votes to proceed with “border surge” amendment, immigration bill on track (nbclatino.com)
Press Release: AILA Commends Senate Judiciary Committee and Calls On Full Senate to Show Similar Commitment to Immigration Reform
AILA PRESS RELEASE
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
George Tzamaras or Belle Woods
202-507-7649 / 202-507-7675
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate Judiciary Committee wrapped up weeks of work on immigration reform by passing S. 744 the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” out of committee by a bipartisan vote of 13 to 5 last night. At the end of the hearing, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Leahy said, “The dysfunction in our current immigration system affects all of us and it is long past time for reform. I hope that our history, our values, and our decency can inspire us finally to take action,” as he successfully concluded an unprecedented effort to open the immigration reform process to the public by making all amendments available online.
American Immigration Lawyers Association: Immigration Quicktake: House Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on High-Skilled Immigration
The Department of Labor has been experiencing technical problems with the PERM system, which still remains unavailable.