A group of seven American businesses have announced that they have dropped an H1B visa lawsuit filed against United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The lawsuit was dropped after USCIS reportedly agreed to accept and adjudicate previous decisions on US work visas.
Back in March, the American Immigration Council (AIC) filed a lawsuit on behalf of the seven companies, which challenged USCIS’ ‘arbitrary rejection’ of H1B petitions filed after October 1 simply because a H1B workers’ intended start date for employment was after October 1.
The lawsuit claimed that based on this timeline, USCIS had created a ridiculous choice for employers to make - either starting foreign workers on October 1 and not a day later or misrepresent the intended start date by ‘backdating’ the petition.
Restricting business immigration
Senior attorney at the AIC, Leslie Dellon, said: “Arbitrary rejections restrict business immigration in the US. The resolution of this case showcases the importance of litigating to challenge unlawful agency actions and advance a fair process for employment-based immigration.”
The lawsuit, which was filed in the federal district court of Massachusetts, had called for USCIS to cease its capricious and arbitrary rejection of H1B petitions filed in a proper and timely manner, which are subject to a statutory annual cap on H1B visa numbers allocated each year.
USCIS thanked for doing the right thing
Co-counsel for the seven businesses, Douglas Hauer and Laurence A. Schoen said: “We dismissed the lawsuit because USCIS promptly corrected its error. All of our clients’ applications have now been accepted by the USCIS. It is unfortunate that legal action was required. But we thank the USCIS for doing the right thing.”
Under the Trump administration, the H1B visa category was the subject of a series of restrictions. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, a ban was placed on issuing US work visas to new applicants. The ban ended on March 31, 2021.
H1B visa rule changes
Meanwhile, last month, the US Department of Labor (DoL) announced that it was seeking feedback from the public within the next 60 days on determining prevailing wage levels for various immigrant and non-immigrant work visas, including the coveted H1B visa.
The request, published in the US federal register by the DoL’s Employment and Training Administration, follows a prior announcement made by the department that sought to implement an 18-month delay in the effective date of a final rule that would change the prevailing wage levels for certain immigrant and non-immigrant workers.
The Trump administration policy was set to come into force on March 9, 2021.
It was originally announced, by USCIS on January 7, that the H1B visa lottery system would be scrapped when deciding on successful H1B visa applicants.
However, Joe Biden, announced that his administration would continue with the H1B visa lottery system up until December 31, 2021. It was reported that this was being done to allow more time to develop, test and implement the modifications needed for the registration system.
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