Last week I attended the Annual Immigration Lawyers conference in Las Vegas. During the conference, government officials spent some time to update the attendees of the most recent information and upcoming changes.
It seems that the collection of the $500 fraud fee for new H1B or L-1 petitions is being used to invest in hiring more investigators. One recent trend is that business practices that were standard and went unchallenged previously, now are being viewed as “fraud.” Many companies must revise their practices to meet current standards. This does not mean that these practices of employers or businesses are necessarily fraudulent.
The biggest frustration for lawyers dealing with H1B’s are the unreasonable RFE’s being issued by the service since the April 1 filing. USCIS is making requests for photos of the premises, copies of contracts between all involved parties, and evidence of doing business including leases, licenses, and other proof. These requests are onerous for employers, as well as disruptive and harmful to both the employer and the employee when the H1B petition is often denied without valid justification.
USCIS presumes fraud if the employer meets two out of the following three criteria: has been doing business for fewer than ten years, has fewer than 25 employees, and/or has less than $10 million in revenue. Most well-established, bona fide companies started with these drawbacks. Even many large, well-known, highly-reputable companies are being issued intensive requests for evidence (RFEs) that seem to be without basis. This trend must stop, otherwise employers will be discouraged from filing for new H1B workers.