According to Bloomberg Law, a case pending in federal district court could put a stop to USCIS’ practice of issuing of H-1B approvals that are only valid for several weeks or months despite requests for full three year validity that is allowed for H-1B petitions.
For approximately two years USCIS has been issuing H-1B approvals to information technology consulting companies that allow workers to remain in H-1B status for only a few weeks or months at a time. USCIS’ February 2018 policy requires consulting and staffing companies to submit itineraries detailing their H-1B employees’ work for the entire length of time requested on their petitions. If an employer can’t provide the full itinerary for the requested three year period, USCIS can shorten the validity of the petition to correspond with how much future work those companies can show.
Members of the IT consulting industry say the practice is causing them to lose business and thousands of dollars in filing and attorneys’ fees to request multiple H-1B extensions during the year. They also say it’s impossible to know exactly what a worker will be doing years into the future.
Flexera Global Inc, an IT consulting firm, sued USCIS in September 2019 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas after receiving three short-term H-1B approvals despite requesting three year validity periods. Flexera alleges that the practice violates the USCIS’ own regulations and says they are owed an explanation.
In response to Flexera’s lawsuit, USCIS has filed a motion to dismiss, asking the court to rule on the legal issues of whether it can issue short-term H-1B approvals and whether it needs to explain itself when doing so.
The motion to dismiss moves up the timeline of the case, increasing the odds that USCIS will receive an unfavorable decision more quickly, according to attorney Jonathan Wasden, who is representing Flexera.
Read the full Bloomberg Law story here.
Please contact our office with questions about H-1B validity periods.