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Trump Administration Makes H-1B Visa Renewal Process Hard

October 2017, 27
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The US government has presently hardened the process for renewing foreign work visa.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services have sent an advisory to all its officers, to have a high level of scrutiny, towards extension requests for the H-1B visa. These officers, now have instructions, to review all requests, for renewal thoroughly, similar to the way, they would do, in the initial stages, of visa applications.

The H-1B is a common path meant for highly skilled foreigners to work in companies located in the USA. It has three-year validity with the provision to renew it for three more years. It is much favored by the tech community and is a program close to the heart of several professional and talented engineers who seek 85,000 visas every year.

The directive withdraws the previous instructions, which gave respect to the visas approved previously till the major elements remained unchanged and when there was no proof of errors or frauds related to the previous determination.

“This updated guideline gives a firm direction to advance the policies that protect the interests of USA based workers," stated L. Francis Cissna, the USCIS Director, who assumed charge during the present month.

In April, the President had issued directions to all companies to strictly implement the Buying and Hiring an American strategy. This approach proposed new rules to prevent fraud and abuse regarding work visas. The H-1B program has been the focus of the President and he has criticized the persons abusing it and using it to replace American workers.

Not only H-1B visas, but other visas, like L-1, TN (for Canada and Mexico nationals), and O-1, have also been impacted, by these guidelines.

Critics of the new policy say that this will be a burden and will limit foreign workers.

Betsy Lawrence, Director of Government Relations, for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said that the previous guideline was efficient to review genuine cases. USCIS had the power to question decisions and seek additional information for reviewing any extension. The focus on greater scrutiny of such cases would result in delays, even when facts have not changed.

An Immigration Attorney remarked that there is a pattern to it and it is clear that USCIS has been ordered to push back and an agenda is set for it.

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