A total of 20,000 participants will be accepted for the pilot over the next five weeks
A total of 20,000 participants will be accepted for the pilot over the next five weeks, split equally between workers who recently received their H-1B specialty occupation visas at consulates in India and Canada. A website released by the State Department ahead of the pilot’s launch allowed visa holders to confirm their eligibility. Applicants could fill out a visa application form on the agency’s website last week, although they couldn’t be submitted until Monday.
This move could benefit thousands of Indian tech professionals. The H-1B visa, a non-immigrant visa, enables US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations requiring theoretical or technical expertise. This marks the first time in nearly two decades that a limited number of H-1B non-immigrants will be able to renew their visas from within the US.
I am thrilled to see the announcement that the State Department has officially launched the Visa Stamping initiative in the USA today. This endeavor aims to streamline and improve the visa process for legal immigrants, making it more efficient and less burdensome. This would eliminate the need for these applicants to travel abroad to renew visas,” Ajay Bhutoria, a prominent advocate for immigration issues, said.
“I believe this positive change will benefit thousands of the individuals invited to work in the US and contribute to the growth of our nation’s companies and economy,” Bhaturia added. This pilot is one of the recommendations presented by Bhutoria of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, which is now implemented by the State Department.
The initiative for now is limited to only H-1B workers who meet the criteria outlined in December and excludes dependent visa holders like spouses and children on H-4 visas–a source of frustration that many workers expressed when eligibility details emerged.