US: Changes to H-1B Employer Protocols

On 9th April 2015 the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office made a ruling that has set a new precedent for the protocol that applies to employers of H-1B workers. This new ruling will require employers to pay careful heed to H-1B workers location and status.

H-1B are issued for the temporary employment of specialty foreign labour. There is currently a cap of 65,000 H-1B visas issued by the United States each fiscal year, however if employers require there is an extra 20,000 exemption places for applicants who have attained a masters or post graduate degree from an American University.

The new ruling was established by the Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC. It states that employers must  now submit amended versions of their original H-1B petitions every time there is a concrete alteration to their H-1B worker”s employment. Specifically it transpired that all changes of location of employment should be submitted to the USCIS before they go to their new worksite.

There are exemptions if:

  • The worker is remaining within the Metropolitan Statistical Area or “area of intended employment (a city or an area within commuting distance of the worker).

  • Short term placements of 30-60 days. Conditions vary so seek advice before deciding.

  • Jobs of a peripatetic (frequently travelling) nature. ALL trips must be under 5 days.

Please note, employers must submit amended H-1B petitions from cases where workers moved “at the time of the Simeio Solutions decision”, which was 21st May 2015 by August 19th 2015. You can also submit multiple amendments at one time to allow your workforce to move whilst other USCIS decision are pending.

For further information and advice on US immigration do not hesitate to contact us.


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