On July 9, the Department of State increased the validity of H visas (H-1B and H-2 temporary workers, H-3 trainees, and H-4 dependents) for citizens of China. These visas are now valid for multiple entries over 12 months. That’s an improvement—it was 2 entries over 3 months.
So Chinese can save some money and time that would otherwise go for H visa renewals. And the U.S. Consular posts in China can devote their limited resources to better things than renewing H visas every 3 months.
The validity of U.S. nonimmigrant visas is negotiated with other countries on a reciprocal basis. If you know what reciprocal commitments China made to the U.S. in return for increasing H visa validity, please drop me a line.
Of course, 12 months is still not enough. For example, H-1B visas for citizens of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and other countries are valid for up to 60 months (but not to exceed the expiration of the underlying H-1B petition). But that fight is for another day.