A US-based trade association, ITServe alliance, recently filed a lawsuit in a US district court against US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A recent policy change was introduced by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which has resulted in a grant of H-1B visas for a few days or months as opposed to the typically requested three-year period and this has resulted in resentment among the Indian community living abroad.
In its lawsuit petition filed on October 11, ITServe, an IT advocacy group representing more than 1,000 small IT companies, pointed out that US laws prescribe a three-year duration for an H-1B visa unless the sponsoring employer requests a lesser period of time. The visa can be extended for another three-year period — the cap is of six-years.
ITServe Alliance contends that USCIS does not have the authority to shorten the duration of the H-1B visas. A copy of the lawsuit petition, obtained by LawChronicles, shows that in one instance, the approved period of the visa was from September 17-29 (or just 12 days). Other visas granted for a very short time were for 28 days and 54 days.
The genesis of this new development, of granting shorter tenure visas, largely stems from the policy clarifications issued by USCIS in its memorandum of February 22. The memorandum covered instances of both initial H-1B requests and extension requests if the employees were to be placed at third-party (or customer) work sites, which is the typical business practice adopted by IT Service companies.
This is the second lawsuit filed by ITServe against USCIS. In the first lawsuit filed in July 2018, ITServe demanded USCIS to remove language from their website prohibiting F-1 STEM OPT students working at the third part client locations.
The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty 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.