US district court orders govt immigration body to explain H-1B delays: Report
ITServe Alliance, a coalition of IT service companies in the US, moved a district court against the new visa processing rules.
May 15, 2019 / 01:14 PM IST
A district court judge in the US has asked the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to explain why there have been delays and denials in H-1B adjudications, The Times of India reported. The immigration body has to reply within two weeks as the new visa processes and rules have impacted the US IT industry adversely.
The case in the district court filed by ITServe Alliance, which is a coalition of IT service companies in the country. They moved the court against the new rules that came into effect after the USCIS put out a memorandum in February 2018 which put fresh requirements on IT companies that post their H-1B employees at client sites.
After these rules were introduced, while applying for H-1B visas for their employees, companies had to prove that there were guaranteed specific work assignments throughout the three-year duration of the visa. This had to be done through contracts and itineraries given to employees. The company had to show that the employer-employee relationship would be maintained even if the employee was at a client site.
As a result of the lengthy process and arduous paperwork, the approval process for the visas, which was a few days earlier, became a few months-long. There was also a rise in the number of rejections of applications.
Hence, the ITServe Alliance filed a case against the USCIS, saying that it dodged administrative procedures, like a public notice or comment period.
"USCIS's policies under the current administration are clearly undermining the H-1B program as it was intended in the legislation. This is creating unexpected levels of uncertainties for both US employees and employers, especially in the IT service sector," said Vinod Babu Uppu, President, ITServe Alliance.
Judge Rosemary M Collyer heard the matter in court and deemed the change in regulations “very troubling”. She added that the government body had removed the simple language of the regulation and switched it with demands of proof for every factor in the law.
The court believes that a labour condition form and an employer's letter with an H-1B application is enough for the visa process, calling it unreasonable to demand proof of work assignments every three years.