Shorter Us Visas Lead to Lawsuit

A trade association in the US has filed a lawsuit in district court following changes to policy by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that have resulted in H-1B US visas being granted for months or even days as opposed to three years, which had been the standard requested period. In some instances, notices of approval were only sent after the expiry of the approved tenure of the US visas.

The non-profit trade association, ITServe Alliance, which represents more than 1000 IT service sector companies, filed a lawsuit petition on October 11. It pointed out that laws in the US prescribe a duration period of three years for H-1B US visas unless a sponsoring employer requested a lesser amount of time.

The H-1B US visa can be extended for a further three years, with the cap being six years except in exceptional cases, such as someone awaiting receipt of their green card. ITServe Alliance’s lawsuit petition contends that shortening the lifespan of H-1B US visa is beyond the authority of USCIS. Some of the visas recently granted had an approved period of 54, 28, and even 12 days.

The decision to begin granting H-1B US visas of a much shorter duration stemmed from policy clarifications that the agency provided in a memorandum issued on 22 February 2018. The lawsuit claims that USCIS is unlawfully usurping the authority of the Department of Labor by shortening the visa period.