Policy change made regarding nonimmigrant work visa renewals

One of the ways a person from another country can get permission to work in America is through being granted a nonimmigrant work visa. These visas allow a person legal status to live and work in the U.S. on a temporary basis. How long the visa lasts depends on the type of work visa it is and the specific terms of the visa.

When a nonimmigrant work visa is nearing its end, there may be the option to renew it. When a renewal of such a visa is pursued, how the renewal process goes can have major impacts on both the foreign worker and the business that employs them. Employment immigration lawyers can provide U.S. companies and foreign workers with help navigating the work visa renewal process and addressing challenges that arise during it.

Recently, the federal government made a policy change regarding nonimmigrant visa renewals. The policy change alters the level of scrutiny immigration officials are to give renewal applications for certain nonimmigrant visas.

Under previous policy, officials were to give a certain amount of deference to findings from the prior application approval when considering renewals. The new policy removes this deference. It instead instructs officials to give visa renewal applications the same scrutiny as first-time applications. This is the case even when circumstances haven’t changed since the prior application.

The change covers renewals of H-1B visas and multiple other types of work visas.

The government says the change may better equip officials to conduct thorough reviews of visa renewal requests.

Some concerns have been raised about the change, however. This includes concerns as to whether it will cause the work visa renewal process to become more inefficient and expensive for employers.

One wonders what the new scrutiny level will end up meaning for the nonimmigrant work visa renewal process in the U.S. and what concerns and issues are present for employers and workers when it comes to this process.

Source: NBC News, “U.S. Tightens Renewal Requirements for Nonimmigrant Worker Visas,” Chris Fuchs, Oct. 27, 2017