ANNOUNCED AS TEMPORARYNo
On October 23, 2017 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued new policy guidance that is expected to make it more difficult to renew H-1B visas. The H-1B visa program allows U.S. employers to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.
The updated policy guidance in Policy Memorandum 602-0151 (PM-602-0151) instructs USCIS officers to apply the same level of scrutiny to both initial petitions and extension requests for certain nonimmigrant visa categories. The new memorandum supersedes and rescinds an April 23, 2004 memorandum that directed adjudicators, when adjudicating petition extensions involving the same parties and underlying facts as the initial petition, to defer to prior determinations of eligibility except in certain, limited circumstances. Under the new memorandum, “In adjudicating petitions for immigration benefits, including nonimmigrant petition extensions, adjudicators must, in all cases, thoroughly review the petition and supporting evidence to determine eligibility for the benefit sought. The burden of proof in establishing eligibility is, at all times, on the petitioner.” It further provided that adjudicators “should not feel constrained in requesting additional documentation in the course of adjudicating a petition extension, consistent with existing USCIS policy regarding requests for evidence, notices of intent to deny, and the adjudication of petitions for nonimmigrant benefits.”
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