This article describes what I am seeing in my direct experience in the world of U.S. business immigration. The CIS is issuing excessive requests for additional evidence even where an applicant is seeking an extension of an existing status with no changes in the underlying job duties, job location, or conditions of employment. Granted, the law properly requires petitioning companies and applicants to establish eligibility for the requested status. But, the current administration has issued guidelines that encourage CIS officers to demand more and more evidence of obvious facts (and give more leeway to deny petitions). One particularly egregious and comical example from my own practice: The CIS asked my client, a huge, well-known airline, to prove it was an existing business as part of its H-1B petition for a financial analyst. The petition was approved but only after unnecessary expense and time spent proving facts that are common knowledge to any living, breathing person. These new interpretations of existing law and regulations are inefficient and wasteful and contradict any professed goal of streamlining government bureaucracy. And, to be clear, I wholeheartedly support a crackdown on unscrupulous companies that abuse the H-1B program or any visa program. The current administration’s new rules and unreasonable interpretations of existing laws and regulations do not effectively address visa fraud because they treat law-abiding companies with long histories of closely following immigration law the same as companies that abuse the system.
Timothy R. Bakken