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USCIS policy on H-1B visas challenged in court

For many Tennessee employers and skilled workers, the H-1B visa can be essential. This visa allows professionals to work in the United States when they are sponsored by an employer. The employer handles the visa paperwork and extension applications. However, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' policy is making the process difficult and unpredictable for employers and skilled workers alike. Companies have reported increasing numbers of problems with visa approvals and the length of extensions.

As a result, some employers have filed suit against the USCIS to challenge the agency's position that it can determine the length for which an H-1B visa is issued. Under existing USCIS regulations, an H-1B visa can be issued for three years or for a shorter period if requested by the employer. However, the USCIS says that it can determine how long the visas are required. Many employers say that receiving extensions of less than six months at a time is now common practice. For a business, this means mounting legal costs and efforts as managers must apply for a new extension immediately after the approval of the first.

In one case cited in the lawsuit, the USCIS mailed an employer approval of their H-1B application on August 29, 2018. However, the visa was valid only from June 15 through August 10. Therefore, it had already been expired for 19 days before being mailed. The companies say that USCIS is overstepping its authority in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act by issuing visas for random lengths of time.

Employers who rely on skilled workers from overseas may be facing challenges when seeking approvals or renewals of H-1B visas. An immigration lawyer can work with an employer or skilled worker to present a strong package for visa approval.

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