25 days left to submit your H-1B petition! Every year thousands of American employers apply for the H-1B nonimmigrant work visa for temporary foreign workers. This H-1B season is expected to be even more intense than ever before due to tougher review procedures at the USCIS. As part of his "Buy American, Hire American" order, President Trump has directed federal agencies to propose new rules and guidance to tighten the requirements for approval of visas, including H-1B visas.
As a result, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has released several new policies. One such directive rescinds the previous guidance, which gave "deference" to previously approved visas "as long as the key elements were unchanged and there was no evidence of a material error or fraud related to the prior determination." USCIS has now advised its officers to review requests for renewal as thoroughly as they would initial visa applications. Another policy requires employers to provide more detailed evidence to show the bona fide relationship with employees who work in third-party workplaces that meet the requirements of an H-1B visa. This new guidance, effective February 22, 2018, states that in order for an H-1B petition involving a third-party worksite to be approved, the petitioner must provide more detailed evidence that the beneficiary will actually be employed in a specialty occupation or the bona fide relationship will exist. Such evidence can include the company’s contract, statements of work, letters from each end-client, etc. Moreover, although the H-1B visa application is usually approved for an initial 3 year period, under Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American" order, the immigration office can also, at its discretion, limit the approval period to a shorter period of time, if USCIS believes that the beneficiary will not be engaged in the proposed work for the full 3 year period.
Please contact our office if you need assistance with your H-1B visas!