Multiple H-1B applications will lead to rejection of the petitions, a federal American agency has warned foreign workers days ahead of the initiation of the filing process for the non-immigrant visa, popular among Indian techies. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has indicated that it would intensify scrutiny of such applications.
The H-1B filing process begins from April 2 for the fiscal year 2019 starting October 1.
"After notice, we will deny or revoke the approval of all H-1B cap-subject petitions filed for one beneficiary by related entities unless there is a legitimate business need," USCIS said. H-1B petitioners who submit multiple cap-subject petitions on behalf of the same beneficiary undermine the integrity of the lottery process, it added.
The federal agency issued policy guidance related to H-1B petitions, clarifying how the term "related entities" applied to the bar on multiple H-1B filings.
"Related entities" include petitioners, whether or not related through corporate ownership and control, that file cap-subject H-1B petitions for the same beneficiary for substantially the same job, it said.
"Absent a legitimate business need to file multiple cap-subject petitions for the same beneficiary," USCIS said, adding that it will deny or revoke the approval of all H-1B cap-subject petitions filed by related entities for that beneficiary.
Noting that a single employer "may not file more than one cap-subject petition for the same beneficiary even if there is a legitimate business need", it asserted that H-1B programme did not permit speculative employment.
It, however, recognised that occasionally an employer may extend the same beneficiary two or more job offers for distinct positions and therefore may have a legitimate business need to file two or more separate H-1B petitions on behalf of the same alien.
The rule, however, precluded that practice if the beneficiary is subject to the cap.
USCIS recognised that allowing multiple filings by one employer on behalf of the same beneficiary could create a loophole for employers who seek to exploit the random selection process to the competitive disadvantage of other petitioners.
Such employers could file multiple petitions on behalf of the same alien under the guise that the petitions are based on different job offers, when the employment positions are in fact the same or only very slightly different.
Instead, USCIS explained that a petitioner could file one initial petition, and then if accepted under the cap, file an amended or new petition for concurrent employment.
The H-1B programme offers temporary US visas that allow companies to hire highly skilled foreign professionals working in areas with shortages of qualified American workers.
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