A US district court has reportedly sought explanations from the national immigration body United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) over the massive delays and denials in adjudications. The court has also asked USCIS to justify the change in H-1B visa norms which has raised trouble for IT service companies in the US. The USCIS has two weeks to respond to the court order.
The court order came during a consolidated hearing over petitions challenging the change in H-1B visa norms that came into effect with an USCIS memorandum in February 2018, The Times of India reported. The lawsuits were filed by ITServe Alliance, a coalition of IT companies in the US, and several of its member companies, the report said.
In the February 2018 memorandum, the USCIS had listed new requirements for companies which posted their employees at third party client sites. Under the new H-1B visa, companies have to provide detailed customer contracts and itineraries of employees. The sponsoring employer was required to demonstrate that employer-employee relationship will be maintained even if the employee was working at a client-state.
The above changes led to substantial delays in processing H-1B visa applications, approval for short-term visa applications for a few days or months, as well as a denial of H-1B visa applications. The lawsuits followed the controversial revamp of H-1B visa rules.
The Trump administration in US has been tweaking rules regarding H-1B visa, a professional visa popular among companies in order to bring skilled professionals to the US from other countries. This visa is valid for a period of three years. Indian IT professionals have been the biggest beneficiary of H-1B visas.
Earlier this month, the US Labour Secretary presented a proposal to hike the H-1B visa application fee to increase funding for the expansion of an apprentice programme, which trains American youths in technology related activities.