Under the law, the burden of proof in establishing eligibility for the visa petition extension is on the petitioner, regardless of whether USCIS previously approved a petition. It will ensure that only qualified H-1B workers will be allowed to stay in the United States and will help crack down on visa fraud and abuse, the report added.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has tightened rules regarding issue of non-immigrant work visas even as the Trump administration is seeking to expand ties with India and engage New Delhi in its fight against the scourge of terrorism. The visa extension request of a person, who was once found to be eligible for a work visa initially, was usually being considered under the previous policy.
By means of memorandum PM-602-0151, USCIS requests its staff to "apply the same level of scrutiny (both stringency) in both new and extension applications using the I-129". Petitions for renewal of H-1B visas, particularly when the underlying facts that supported the original petition have not changed, are now considered with a presumption of approval, but that will no longer be the case, USISC said in a statement issued late on Monday.
San Francisco Bay Area companies such as Google and Apple depend on the H-1B visa program to acquire highly-skilled workers from out of the country.
The new visa policy, which is in line with the Trump administration's goal to protect American workers from discrimination, seeks to put the burden of proof establishing eligibility for visas is on the applicant even when an extension of the visa is sought. Moreover, this level of scrutiny must be consistent with policies that protect the interests of USA workers.
"While adjudicators may ultimately reach the same conclusion as in a prior decision, they are not compelled to do so as a default starting point as the burden of proof to establish eligibility for an immigration benefit always lies with the petitioner", the USCIS said. A report in Times of India mentions that Swaraj, talking about their discussion, said, "This is most evident in our mutually beneficial digital partnership, driven by our skilled professionals".
Betsy Lawrence, the director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, told CNN Tech that the previous guidance made it efficient to review cases.
The H-1B is a popular visa pathway for skilled workers outside the US who want to find work in the country.