According to the Society for Human Resource Management or SHRM, policies on employment-based immigration will continue to hinder organizations seeking to hire foreign national talent in 2019. In thisarticle, Roy Maurer mentions that since 2017 the current administration has published the following memos:
- Directing officers to no longer defer to prior approvals when examining renewal or extension requests.
- Allowing more scrutiny of H-1B petitions, especially if employers intend to contract those workers out to third-party client worksites.
- Facilitating visa petition denials without first issuing requests for evidence (RFEs).
- Instructing officers to serve a notice to appear—a charging document that orders foreign nationals to appear in immigration court to begin removal proceedings—to anyone unlawfully present in the United States when an application, petition or benefit request is denied.
- Changing the way unlawful presence is calculated for those with F-1 student visas.
Regardless of where you stand on this direction, the reality is that it's a tough period for U.S. employment visa petitions because companies continue to see reasons to challenge, not reasons to approve visas of all types from the government. They're seeing worksite investigations rise by 300% and record-high audits conducted.
Despite the increased level of intensity, the U.S. economy is still encouraging businesses to seek the talent they need and motivating talent to come to the U.S.
Are you feeling the challenge of increased scrutiny in your program? In this environment, make sure to allow for extra time in case scrutiny does come your way.
Nonimmigrant employment petitions that two years, or even 12 months ago, would have been comfortably approved are now being challenged and, under the Department of Homeland Security Policy Memorandum, PM-602-0163, face the very real risk of outright denial for minor application errors. PM-602-0163 constituted in no uncertain terms a formidable weapon in the USCIS adjudicating officer's armory. Adjudicating officers are now empowered with greater discretion to deny an application or petition without first issuing an RFE or NOID. This is slowing processing times and creating greater uncertainty as to the expected outcome of applications.