People queue to get a visa at the Consulate of the United States. (Photographer: Antoine Antoniol/Bloomberg News.)

IT Lobby Files Lawsuit Against U.S. Immigration Agency Over Shorter Duration Of H-1B Visa

An information technology advocacy group representing more than 1,000 small IT companies, mostly run by Indian-Americans, has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. immigration agency for issuing H-1B visas for less than three years.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

These visas are typically issued for three to six years to hire a foreign worker.

Based out of Dallas in Texas, the ITServe Alliance in its 43-page lawsuit filed last week alleged that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has begun a practice of approving H-1B petitions for shorter than three years duration.

“These petitions are often valid for only months or days at a time, and some cases are expired by the time the approval is received,” it said.

ITServe’s lawsuit against the U.S. CIS alleges that the agency has no authority to misinterpret the existing regulations and shorten the approval duration.

In fact, the United States Congress has specifically granted power to the Department of Labor and its regulations grant three-year approval, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also alleges that the itinerary requirement put forth by the U.S. CIS is also unlawful.

This is the second lawsuit filed by ITServe against U.S. CIS. In the first lawsuit filed in July 2018, ITServe demanded U.S. CIS to remove language from their website prohibiting F-1 STEM OPT students working at the third-part client locations.

“The U.S. CIS has been making arbitrary rules and memos for over eight years. It’s our top priority to set things right and hold U.S. CIS accountable to follow the regulations set by the Unites States Congress,” said ITServe’s national president for 2018 Gopi Kandukuri.

Referring to the recent spate of H-1B denials that ITServe members received, Kandukuri said members of ITServe Alliance are tired of receiving random denials for no reason. “The new battlefield for us is the federal courthouse and not U.S. CIS service centres.”

Also read: U.S. Tech Lobby Against Ending Work Permits To Spouses Of H1-B Visa Holders