Demanding that there has been a “dramatic increase” in the number of H-1B visas being held up, anassociation of American employers from top IT companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft has suspected that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is acting outside of its own regulations.
The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to employ technicians mainly from India and China.
“We have observed three changes in H-1B adjudication practices under the current administration that seem to permeate most of the increased H-1B adjudication inconsistencies experienced by employers,” Compete America said in a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Francis Cissna Director, USCIS.
Compete America alleged that the USCIS seems to be acting “outside of its own regulations and the controlling statute” by assking petitioners to comply with the agency’s present view that a comparatively entry-level job, and corresponding wage level, cannot be a specialty occupation. “These reported shifts in agency action have been perplexing to our coalition’s members, especially because the agency’s changes in approach were unannounced and unexplained and are not previewed in the regulations governing a qualifying H-1B specialty occupation that have been in effect since 1991,” it said.
“Nothing in the statute or regulations contemplates or suggests, much less states, that USCIS could ever take the position that it per se excludes or disfavours entry-level jobs in an occupation, or young professionals working in jobs in an occupation, as qualifying for H-1B specialty occupation approval,” it asserted.