The new USCIS Director Lee Francis Cissna recently announced a dramatic change in the adjudications policy regarding extensions of already approved H-1B and other employment based I-129 petitions like L’s and O’s. At the end of October, extension petitions for already approved petitions with the same employer without any change in job duties were normally approved unless there was some obvious mistake in the original approval.
The new policy memo succeeds and repeals the April 23, 2004 memorandum, called, “The significance of a Prior CIS Approval of a Nonimmigrant Petition in the Context of a subsequent Determination Regarding Eligibility for Extension of Petition Validity and section VII of the August 17, 2015 policy memorandum titled L-1B Adjudications Policy.”

When Do These New H-1B Visa Policies Go Into Effect?

It goes into effect immediately and offers updated guidance making it clear that the burden of proof remains on the employer petitioner when an extension of nonimmigrant status is sought. The adjudicators must apply the same level of scrutiny to both initial petitions and an extension request even when the petitioner beneficiary and underlying facts have not changed from a previously approved petition. Even in a routine extension case, the employer must now relitigate the entire case and show again that the offered position and beneficiary are qualified for H-1B approval. If you have any questions, contact an H-1B lawyer to learn more.

Do the New H-1B Policies Apply to Me?

The new memo is essentially for USCIS officers handling extension cases to look for reasons to overturn previous approvals in the name of protecting the interests of workers in the United States. However, this could lead to denials of routine extension applications.

Unfortunately, under this new policy, highly educated, skilled and professional immigrant workers who benefit our economy by making our employers competitive and who help create more employment opportunities for American workers, will be the ones who are hurt the most. The common viewpoint is that the only groups who will benefit from this policy change are those seeking an excuse to keep immigrants out of the country.

Seek an Experienced H-1B Visa Lawyer to Protect Your Rights

If you or anyone you know in the Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Burlington, and surrounding NC Triad areas has any questions about immigration law in general or about the most recent H-1B and other employment based I-129 petition changes, Neelam can help.As one of the top H-1B lawyers in the Greensboro area with over two decades of experience, she can represent you if you need legal counsel. Contact the offices of Neelam Bhardwaj today and learn how she can help!

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