H-1B issue: Tech staffing firms file a lawsuit against USCIS

Published: 05/04/2018

Source: http://bit.ly/2HRQ1Yd

The inevitable lawsuits against the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services have begun. A group of tech recruiting companies has filed the lawsuit against the USCIS.

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Smaller tech staffing firms are heavily affected by the new H-1B requirements. USCIS quietly issued a memo in February, placing additional requirements on companies that subcontract their resources to other firms. The US agency argues that this practice violates the H-1B program norms. 

According to USCIS, paying less than the federally required wage is likely when a visa holder works for a third party company. The lawsuit filed by a group of companies expects a temporary restraining order to block the enforcement of this particular memo. 

Trump administration wants to crack down the illegal use of the H-1B program. The visa program is often abused by the IT service firms. The memo for staffing companies published in February is another move by the Trump government. The lawsuit is filed in a federal district court in New Jersey. 

The companies in the Bay Area rely on H-1B visa program to directly employ foreign talent. The visa that is intended for hiring highly skilled talent in specialty occupations requires unique skills to perform. According to the critics of this program, the bar for the program has been lowered over the last few years.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) wants to restore the integrity of this program. Which is why the government is putting additional restrictions to control the abuse of H-1B provision. The companies that subcontract employees need to outline the specific work requirements for the particular H-1B visa holder.

Going forward, these companies will have to prove that the H-1B holder will be performing a specialty occupation. The memo also states that the staffing company will have to show the contract duration for which the foreign candidate is hired. 

The plaintiffs in the suit include staffing firmsNAM Info, Derex Technologies and a trade organization called Small and Medium Enterprise Consortium. According to this group of companies, the requirements laid out in February memo are impossible to comply with. These companies also claim that they have suffered losses due to denials of H-1B extensions.

The memo will only affect smaller tech staffing firms. The larger companies that are known for filing a large number of H-1B visa applications are unlikely to see as much impact. Smaller companies with a dependent business model around subcontracting may face major issues in the coming future.  

Source: http://bit.ly/2HRQ1Yd

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