Under President Trump’s Executive Order 13780, the process for foreign nationals to obtain or extend visas for working inside the United States has changed rapidly and dramatically.
The new rules are designed to give U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) greater ability to determine the validity of applications and the nature and intent of those applying. In practice, that means that many employers and applicants say the changes have made an already complicated process much slower and much more complicated.
In the past, when it was time to renew an H-1B employee’s status, USCIS did not require as much proof from applicants who hoped to extend their H-1Bs as is required now. Those rules changed in 2017 with the new executive order. Now in order to obtain an extension, existing H-1B holders must prove their eligibility as if they were seeking the visa for the first time.
Previously, USCIS previously did not require an interview for employment-based applicants—particularly when the employer petitioning for the extension was the same one that sponsored the applicant’s initial work visa. Also, applicants with extraordinary abilities were generally not required to submit to an interview.
However now under the new rules, in-person interviews are required for all employment-based immigrant visa applicants, and employers often must submit to detailed Requests for Evidence (RFE) for H-1B extensions. Furthermore, some employers say they have been asked to provide proof that bachelor’s degrees are required for highly skilled jobs in medicine, architecture and engineering or that a college professor’s PhD is legitimate. Others say they are commonly asked for evidence that an entry-level wage is appropriate for a specific worker.
H-1B applicants and their employers can prepare to better adjust to these changes by:
- Knowing when the H-1B status of any employees is set to expire
- Being familiar with jobs that require a bachelor’s degree or specific skills or knowledge
- Being prepared to demonstrate that the company has a need for a specific H-1B employee to continue working for the company
- Beginning the renewal process far enough in advance to obtain an extension, even with in-person interview delays, before an H-1B employee’s status expires
With so many changes to the visa process, and with the process continuing to evolve, it’s more important than ever to have the help of knowledgeable immigration attorneys. The experienced immigration attorneys at Zanes Law can help your team obtain what you need to make your U.S. venture a success. Please contact us or call us at 844-666-8181 for a private consultation today.