USCIS Suspends Premium Processing of all H-1B Petitions for the wrong reasons.

H-1b

On Friday March, 3 USCIS announced that it will suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions filed on or after April 3. Since April 3rd is the first day the H-1B petitions will be accepted for the 2018 fiscal year, it means they will not accept any premium processing for any of those petitions.

Premium processing is requested by using form I-907 and paying an additional fee of $1225. Premium processing is a service offered by USCIS that guarantees they will adjudicate an application or petition within 15 business days. This is a huge time saver for businesses and individuals needing decisions on their cases quickly. With the fast moving economy and multiple factors companies use when making personnel decisions, the loss of premium processing for H-1Bs could be devastating.

USCIS stated that the reason for the suspension of premium processing was so:
“​we will be able to:

  • Process long-pending petitions, which we have currently been unable to process due to the high volume of incoming petitions and the significant surge in premium processing requests over the past few years; and
  • Prioritize adjudication of H-1B extension of status cases that are nearing the 240 day mark.”

This is flawed reasoning. USCIS is one the few government agencies which pays for itself. Filing fees submitted along with applications cover the cost of running and maintaining the agency. The additional fee of $1225 is meant to create additional revenue for the agency so they can adjudicate cases more quickly. Instead of suspending the premium processing service for H-1Bs they should raise the rate if it is not covering the costs of processing the cases in a timely manner. If cases are taking too long to adjudicate they should be hiring additional staff. Suspending premium processing is not going to help with adjudicating cases faster, it will only decrease revenue and make it harder to hire additional officers – likely having the effect of slowing down processing even more.