Published: Thu, October 26, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Trump admin makes it more hard for H-1B visa extension

Trump admin makes it more hard for H-1B visa extension

But in a memorandum released late on Monday, USCIS rescinded the earlier policy and instructed its officers to apply the same level of scrutiny to both initial petitions and extension requests, consistent with policies to protect the interests of American workers. The previous memorandum of April 23, 2004, appeared to place this burden on this federal agency, said the USCIS.

Under the past order, a person would for the most part be considered for extenion of their visa if she/he was once observed to be qualified for a work visa at first.

The policy takes effect immediately and affects those applying to extend their nonimmigrant visa status, including H, L, F and all other nonimmigrant categories.

The new restrictions were made even as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said that she had raised the H-1B visa issue with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during their meeting in New Delhi. The guidance applies to almost all nonimmigrant classifications filed using Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.

While the new policy does not change regulations on the documentary requirements of an extension application, it directs officers that "they should not feel constrained in requesting additional documentation in the course of adjudicating a petition extension".

The new rules are in line with the Donald Trump administration's Buy American, Hire American policy, USCIS said.

Photograph of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 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.

Underscoring the need for a thorough scrutiny the statement explained: "As before, adjudicators must thoroughly review the petition and supporting evidence to determine eligibility for the benefit sought". Additionally, the memorandum states that the updated policy is "more consistent with the agency's current priorities and also advances policies that protect the interests of US workers".

Immigration attorney Chris Wright of The Wright Law Firm told CNNMoney that it fits a broader pattern: "It seems clear that USCIS have been instructed to push back wherever they can." he said, noting that "the prevailing attitude seems to be, 'How might we be able to deny this petition?'"

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