Industry

IT companies file lawsuit against U.S. immigration agency for issuing shorter duration H-1B visas

A file photo of an immigration reform protest being held at the Liberty State Park in Jersey City, U.S.

A file photo of an immigration reform protest being held at the Liberty State Park in Jersey City, U.S.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

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H-1B visas are typically issued for three to six years to employers to hire a foreign worker.

An information technology (IT) advocacy group representing more than 1,000 small companies mostly run by Indian-Americans has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for issuing shorter period H-1B visas.

The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

These visas are typically issued for three to six years to employers to hire a foreign worker.

Based out of Dallas in Texas, the ITServe Alliance, in its 43-page lawsuit filed last week, alleged that the USCIS has recently begun a practice of approving H-1B petitions for shorter than three-year duration.

“These petitions are often valid for only months or days at a time, and some cases are expired by the time the approval is received,” it said.

The USCIS had no authority to misinterpret the existing regulations and shorten the approval durations. In fact, Congress had specifically granted power to the Department of Labour and DOL’s regulations grant three-year approvals. The the itinerary requirement put forth by the USCIS was also unlawful, the lawsuit said.

Second lawsuit against USCIS

This is the second lawsuit filed by ITServe against the USCIS. In the first one filed in July 2018, ITServe demanded the USCIS to remove language from their website prohibiting F-1 STEM OPT students working at the third part client locations.

“The USCIS has been making arbitrary rules and memos for over eight years, it’s our top priority to set things right and hold the USCIS accountable to follow the regulations set by the Unites States Congress,” said ITServe’s national president for 2018, Gopi Kandukuri.

Referring to the recent spate of H-1B denials that ITServe members received, Mr. Kandukuri said that members of the ITServe Alliance were tired of receiving random denials for no reason.“The new battlefield for us is the federal courthouse and not USCIS service centres,” he added.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 11:57:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/it-companies-file-lawsuit-against-uscis-over-shorter-duration-of-h-1b-visas/article25234048.ece

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