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Trump administration grants officials power to outright reject H-1B applications

The policy issued on July 13 by USCIS essentially rescinds an earlier policy that said that officials cannot deny a case without first giving the applicant an opportunity to furnish more proof.

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | July 16, 2018 | Updated 13:31 IST
Trump administration grants officials power to outright reject H-1B applications

The Trump administration has tightened the noose around the already-tough visa application process, especially for third party clients that require a host of evidence to show that the applicant's specialisation cannot be replicated by anyone else. Now immigration officials can outright reject an application if the 'initial evidence' submitted by the applicant does not sufficiently support the eligibility of the visa she or he seeks. In other words, visa applicants, including companies supporting the H-1B visa employees, may not get a second chance to produce more documentary evidence that back up their visa request. If the application is rejected in cases like extension of H-1B, the applicant could be at the risk of deportation. The new policy would be rolled out from September 11.

The policy issued on July 13 by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) essentially rescinds an earlier policy that said that officials cannot deny a case without first giving the applicant an opportunity to furnish more proof. Earlier, the officials were needed to issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) in all cases, but with the new policy it is not clear how the order will be interpreted. While the USCIS says that this move would weed out frivolous applications, experts believe that leaving this decision to the subjectivity of the officials could make the process cumbersome.

Many RFEs earlier involved the sponsoring company providing additional evidence on why the job is specialised that would qualify the applicant.

While even earlier, an insufficient application was rejected, dismissing applications for lack of recommended evidence will create problems, say experts.

Moreover, the US Immigration Department came out with a policy memorandum which allows the USCIS to issue 'Notices to Appear' (NTA) in cases where upon denial of an application or petition an applicant is unlawfully present in the United States. A Notice to Appear is a document given to foreign nationals that instructs them to appear before an immigration judge on a certain date. The issuance of an NTA commences removal proceedings against the foreign citizens.

Under the new rules, USCIS officers will now issue an NTA for a wider range of cases where the individual is removable and there is evidence of fraud, criminal activity, or where an applicant is denied an immigration benefit and is unlawfully present in the United States, the policy memorandum said.

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