Tougher H-1B visa verification process likely

In a move that will make it hard for the extension of H-1B and L1 visas, the Trump organization has declared that the weight of proof lies on the candidate even when an expansion is looked for. "The burden of proof in establishing eligibility is, at all times, on the petitioner", the USCIS said in its policy memorandum. It will ensure that only qualified H-1B workers are allowed to stay in the United States so as to prevent fraud and misuse of the H-1B program.

San Francisco Bay Area companies such as Google and Apple depend on the H-1B visa program to acquire highly-skilled workers from out of the country.

The intent is to help protect American workers, though critics argue it aims to limit foreign workers.

The new restrictions were made even as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said that she had raised the H-1B visa issue with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during their meeting in New Delhi.

"In adjudicating petitions for immigration benefits, including non-immigrant petition extensions, adjudicators must, in all cases, thoroughly review the petition and supporting evidence to determine eligibility for the benefit sought", the USCIS said.

Under the previous directive, a person would usually be considered for extension of their visa if she/he was was once found to be eligible for a work visa initially.

Under the law, the burden of proof in establishing eligibility for the visa petition extension is on the petitioner, regardless of whether USCIS previously approved a petition.

The new rules are in line with the Donald Trump administration's Buy American, Hire American policy, USCIS said. Currently, they have to prove to the federal authorities, during every extension, that they are eligible for the visa they are applying for. A report in Times of India mentions that Swaraj, talking about their discussion, said, "This is most evident in our mutually beneficial digital partnership, driven by our skilled professionals". Consequently, the burden of proof will be on the petitioner to substantiate his application even when nothing has changed since the previous petition.

It is from there that it is understood the last press release of the Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in which the agency - attached to the Department of Homeland Security - reports its decision to apparently make a change in the procedure of granting extensions of special visas to professionals from other countries.

The other visas, which will have impact because of the directive, include L-1, for intracompany transfers, TN, for Canadian and Mexican citizens, and O-1, for those with "extraordinary abilities".

  • Anthony Vega