A new USCIS policy memorandum issued on February 22, 2018 requires H-1B employers to disclose detailed information about vendor and end-client relationships when petitioning for employees who will be placed at third-party sites. Some staffing agencies seek hard-to-get H-1B visas for high-skilled workers, only to contract them to other companies. While there is nothing illegal about contracting out visa recipients, workers are supposed to maintain a relationship with their employers, among other requirements.
Companies will now have to provide specific work assignments, contracts, itineraries, including dates and locations, covering the entire period of employment to verify the “employer-employee” relationship between the company applying for the work visa recipient. USCIS adjudicators will scrutinize the contractual relationships among H-1B petitioners, subcontractors, and end-clients to assess whether petitioners will retain the right to control H-1B employees throughout the period of employment. USCIS stated that it may limit the length of the visa to shorter than 3 years based on the information an employer provides. For example, if an employer can’t prove the visa holder is more likely than not needed for the full three years, the government might issue the visa for fewer than 3 years.
The new guidelines have immediate effect and will apply for FY2019 H-1B cap petitions as well as H-1B extension requests. To learn more about the H-1B visa and your eligibility, please click here.
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