Immigration Update: H1-B Premium Process Suspension and Petition Document Requirements for Third-Party Worksites; Power of Attorney Signatures Prohibited

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The USCIS has announced a number of updates regarding foreign work visas and signatures on immigration documents. Employers who are in the process of, or otherwise intend to hire, foreign workers should review these updates carefully.

Clarification of Petition Documentation Requirements for Third-Party Worksite Arrangements

Effective February 22, 2018, the USCIS published a new policy memorandum related to H-1B petitions filed for workers employed at third-party worksites. The policy memorandum clarifies what type of documentation a petitioner can provide to demonstrate that the visa beneficiary is engaged in “specific and non-speculative qualifying assignments in a specialty occupation.”  These include contracts and itineraries, technical documentation, or letters or statements of work orders signed by authorized officials at the third-party worksite, among other possible documents.  Employers may view the policy memorandum regarding document requirements on the USCIS website.

New Guidance on Signature Requirements

Effective March 18, 2018, the USCIS will no longer accept power of attorney signatures on immigration documents filed with the agency.  Documents filed by a corporation or other legal entity must be signed by an authorized person.  The exception to this rule applies to power of attorney signatures on behalf of individuals younger than age 14 or those with disabilities. The USCIS may now reject forms submitted with faulty signatures, rather than offering the opportunity to correct the deficiency.  Employers may view the policy memorandum regarding signature requirements on the USCIS website.

Suspension of Premium Processing for H1-B Cap Petitions

Effective April 2, 2018, the USCIS will temporarily suspend premium processing for fiscal year H-1B petitions subject to the annual cap.  The suspension also applies to cap-exempt petitions for beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher, and is expected to last until September 10, 2018.  Premium processing requests for H-1B petitions not subject to the FY 2019 cap will still be accepted.

The USCIS will automatically reject any requests for premium processing service filed with applicable H-1B petitions, and if an employer submits a single check to pay for the fees associated with both the petition and the premium processing, both filings will be rejected.

Action Items

  1. Review the new policy memorandums.
  2. Consult an immigration attorney on updated requirements if filing petitions for a H-1B visa beneficiary.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2018 ManagEase

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