H-1B seekers don’t have to give detailed info of work stint

Pune: The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which administers the country’s immigration system, will stop asking H-1B visa applicants for a detailed itinerary of their entire work stint in the country, in a move expected to benefit Indian IT services providers.

Software services companies who typically send employees on the H-1B visa to third-party locations in the US will breathe a sigh of relief, as these work permits were either granted for less than the mandated three-year period or denied altogether if they did not provide a detailed itinerary. Indian IT services firms deploy experienced professionals on short-term projects onsite to execute a complex project or consult a client, before moving on to other clients.

The decision came after the USCIS reached a settlement on Wednesday with the ITServe Alliance, an IT industry body based in the United States. As part of the settlement, the immigration agency will repeal what is known as the 2018 Contract and Itinerary Memorandum — which required companies to provide the employee’s itinerary — within 90 days. Additionally, the agency will reopen and adjudicate more than 60 H-1B petitions in the next 90 days. ITServe Alliance is the largest association of IT solutions and services organisations in the US, representing over 1,200 member companies, and has, over the past two years, filed over 130 cases challenging visa denials. “Since 2018, we have been making gradual progress through our judicial system and this is a significant milestone,” the ITServe Alliance said in a statement.

“This settlement wipes out the last 10 years of USCIS policy targeting many companies that hire H-1B employees and directly benefits them with the opportunity for stable employment, a predictable future, and the confidence to continue their interest in the United States,” it added.

USCIS said that it had nothing to announce at this time. India’s software industry lobby group, National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom), did not respond to emails seeking comment till press time Thursday.

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