Important Changes to the H-1b Visa Program

March 7, 2017

To promote resident well-being, in October 2014 CoPS adopted a recommendation that beginning with the 2017 appointment year, pediatric fellowships should start no earlier than July 7 with orientation occurring no sooner than July 5. CoPS strongly encourages fellowship programs to implement this change and hopes that the information below is helpful.

Until the end of last year, it was unclear as to whether a gap in training was allowed under the H-1b visa program. With the support of APPD, CoPS engaged a highly-respected immigration attorney to provide a legal opinion as to how individuals with a H-1b visa could be compliant with their visa requirements if there was a 7 day gap. The attorney has informed us that new statues permit up to a 10 day gap for individuals holding a H-1b visa, although there are a few caveats. It is important to note that individuals possessing a H-1b visa do not need to paid until they actually begin work. The attorney’s legal opinion is attached.

On Friday, March 3rd, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a press release indicating it will suspend premium processing of all H-1b petitions effective April 3, 2017 for up to 6 months. This may pose hardships for individuals who need to transfer their H-1b from residency to fellowship. In the attached supplement, our attorney provides guidance to address this issue.