The executive order “Buy American and Hire American”, issued in April 2017, has tightened H-1B visa regulations in an effort to create more jobs for U.S. workers. According to a Reuters reports, H-1B petitions in 2017 increased by more than 45% compared to the year 2016.
This new order has resulted in H-1B holders facing difficulties when applying for H-1B extensions more than they have in past years. As a staffing and technology company, we at Comrise are seeing that employers sponsoring H1B's are receiving frequent Request for Evidence, RFE's, regarding their visa holding employees.
Receiving a request for evidence does not mean the employee will be denied the visa extension, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services conduct RFE’s to verify information that was missing or not completed to its fullest. These changing H-1B regulations will have a significant impact on companies being able to fulfill jobs and having the necessary resources.
The impact on companies hiring and maintaining highly skilled foreign workers will change from not having the resources to fulfil jobs to the increasing job vacancy rate in America.
There are ways the employee can increase their chance of filing a successful RFE.
1.Do not forget any critical information that will later cause your application to be flagged when initially filling out your application.
2.Be consistent and accurate with any documentation that may have to be submitted throughout the entire process.
3.Check dates of jobs and education, spelling of names and companies, names of employers and locations of jobs and schools.
4.Double check that the current job requires a bachelor's degree or higher and is related to the field of study.
Employer action for employees that receive RFE’s. If the employee receives an RFE, there are actions the employer can take to prepare the documentation to its’ fullest.
1.The first and most important thing the employer should do is note the date that the document was issued and how many days you have to respond. The deadline date is when USCIS has to have the documentation “in hand”, not when it is mailed.
2.The employer should reach out to their immigration attorney to make sure that all the documentation required is released. Without all the appropriate information, future delays can occur.
3.USCIS requires that H-1B sponsoring employers pay higher than the wage levels for each specialty job. Wage levels are constantly being updated and it is important that the employer and the attorney be mindful of it.
4.Make copies of the RFE to keep for your records. A “mark up” copy to write on as you go will help keep track of any changes you make.
5.Read what USCIS is requesting fully and carefully. A request may ask for documentation of information they already have on file, but you should send in the documentation again anyway.
6.Once the documentation is completed, the RFE should be organized with the original RFE on top, followed by a cover letter and all documentation in order of which they were asked.
According to the United States Citizen and Immigration Services, 2017 had a total of 336,107 H-1B petitions filed. Only 59% of the petitions were approved. Following these tips to a successful petition filing will allow for smooth career transitions, while guaranteeing employee retention, within your company.