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USCIS Published New Policy Memo on H-1B Computer Programmers

On April 3, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a policy memorandum which changes guidance on the H-1B specialty occupation designation for computer programmers. The new memo supersedes and rescinds the December 22, 2000 memorandum titled “Guidance memo on H1B computer related positions”.

The updated memo advises immigration officials to no longer follow an “obsolete” memo from 2000, which provided guidance on how to vet requests for H-1B visas: "it is improper to conclude based on this information that USCIS would 'generally consider the position of programmer to qualify as a specialty occupation.'"

According to the memo, “the fact that a person may be employed as a computer programmer and may use information technology skills and knowledge to help an enterprise achieve its goals in the course of his or her job is not sufficient to establish the position as a specialty occupation.” This means that USCIS has clarified its position and Petitioners must provide additional evidence to establish that the particular position is a specialty occupation as defined by 8 CFR 214.2(h) (4) (ii) for computer programming.

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