Trump administration toughens H-1B visa renewal process

Trump administration toughens H-1B visa renewal process

According to the report, USCIS can approve more than 3,30,000 H-1B petitions each year and, as of April 2017, reported more than 6,80,000 approved and valid H-1B petitions.

The federal USA agency that approves applications for H-1B visas needs to improve upon its current site visit verification program so as to prevent fraud in the visa system, according to a report by the Department of Homeland Security.

In other words, officers are instructed to review requests for renewal as thoroughly as they would initial visa applications.

"In awarding applications for immigration benefits, including applications for an extension to foreigners, adjudicators (USCIS officials) must, in all cases, review the application and evidence provided before determining the applicability of the sought benefit".

"This memorandum makes it clear that the burden of proof remains on the petitioner, even where an extension of non-immigrant status is sought", USCIS said in its latest memorandum issued on October 23. It will ensure that only qualified H-1B workers are allowed to stay in the United States so as to prevent fraud and misuse of the H-1B program.

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"The previous policy instructed officers to give deference to the findings of a previously approved petition, as long as the key elements were unchanged and there was no evidence of a material error or fraud related to the prior determination".

"This new policy is in line with the Trump administration's goal to protect American workers from discrimination and replacement by foreign labor", pro-American immigration group NumbersUSA said in a post about the new guideline. Amendments are sought when an H-1B employee changes the location within the same company; transfer is sought when he moves from one company to another; and a renewal is sought at the expiry of the visa, which is usually issued for three years at the beginning.

Some say the new policy will be unnecessarily burdensome and is aimed at limiting foreign workers.

"[With the update], we are going to much greater scrutiny of these cases, and thus delays, even when the underlying facts have not changed", Lawrence told CNNMoney.

"This updated guidance provides clear direction to help advance policies that protect the interests of US workers", L. Francis Cissna, the new USCIS Director who was sworn in this month, was quoted as saying by CNN Tech.

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