US halts high-skill visas for China, India

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, August 24, 2016
Adjust font size:

The US State Department has temporarily halted visa applications for Chinese and Indian nationals with special skills because of a "dramatic increase" in worldwide demand for the visas.

A State Department spokesperson told China Daily in an email that it halted the application process for EB-1 visas to make sure it does not exceed the allotted annual limit, which is about 40,000 per fiscal year, which runs from October to October. No more than 7 percent of all visas can go to applicants from any one country, which means 2,800 each for China and India.

In the past, however, those two countries have received more than their standard allotment because the number of applications worldwide is typically less than the total number of visas available. The surplus could be used as needed.

But now that has changed.

"In recent years, China and India have benefited from our making these extra visas available, but because of the increase in demand and the fact that countries have already reached their per-country annual limits, we are required to temporarily stop issuing visas to Chinese and Indian nationals," the spokesperson said.

The EB-1 visa is granted to applicants in three categories: those with extraordinary ability, outstanding professors and researchers, and multinational managers or executives who may be transferring from one branch of their company to another.

Chen Fan, an immigration consultant at Yiminbang, an online agency based in Shanghai, said the temporary halt may be caused by the surge of EB-1C applicants from the Chinese mainland, a category that normally requires more documents and a longer review time.

"Since the second half of 2015, law firms have seen rapid growth in immigration applications from multinational managers or executives. More than 80 percent of them are owners of private companies in China," Chen said.

Chen said such people are making a decision to move to the US based on the expected appreciation of the dollar against the yuan.

"Many of them want to expand their family business or maintain and increase the value of assets by exploring new investments in the United States," Chen said.

William Stock, a partner at Klasko Immigration Law Partners, said that, like other visa categories, there is a constant backlog of EB-1 applications. And there is a precedent for the State Department's action: Applications were halted in 2007.

The temporary halt does not come with any immediate restrictions. Those who filed a petition for the EB-1 can still get employment and travel documents, but they cannot get to the next step of the process-the actual green card application-until issuing resumes in October, according to immigration lawyers.

Also, anyone with an approved petition is not allowed to apply for an adjustment of status or a visa until more become available in October.

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from