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H-1B Workers with Pending Adjustment of Status Face New Interview Requirements from USCIS

In an episode of HBO’s hit comedy series Silicon Valley, a naturalized United States citizen born in Pakistan explained that his interview with immigration agents was not the most pleasant. The Java programmer, who originally came to the U.S. under the H-1B visa program, was apparently “asked about Al-Qaeda” 14 times. 

As it has previously occurred under the Trump administration, life is imitating art with a recent announcement by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). As of October 1st, all foreign nationals who are recipients of San Diego H-1B visas for employment purposes will be subjected to in-person interviews at their local USCIS offices. 

The official announcement by the USCIS explains that this new requirement falls under the purview of Executive Order 13780, which Trump signed earlier this year under considerable protest from many immigration advocates and business leaders. The Executive Order is entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” and it has created a great deal of controversy.

Starting October 1st, the USCIS is expected to roll out the interview process for H-1B visa holders who have filed an I-485 petition for adjustment of status. A similar requirement will be imposed on those who file Form I-730 on behalf of foreigners who are relatives of asylum and refuge recipients.

In addition to the above, the Times of India newspaper recently reported an increase in Request for Evidence situations imposed on H-1B visas filed after April 1st, 2017. Legal analysts believe these new USCIS measures will likely add layers of bureaucracy and result in a greater backlog than what has been experienced thus far in the Trump era.

Aside from Executive Order 13780, employers are concerned about the “Buy American, Hire American” initiative, which is impacting the H-1B and H-2B visa programs. The costs and lower productivity caused by these anti-immigrant measures will likely be felt in the national economy when American companies file their fourth quarter financial statements.

Visa recipients who are subject to the new USCIS interview directives should seek the counsel of a San Diego immigration law firm so they know what to expect. It is worth mentioning that these interviews were standard about a decade ago, but they were later waived in the spirit of streamlining an immigration system that is becoming more convoluted on a daily basis. 

USCIS is expected to allow legal counsel to be present at the interviews, as such used to be the case when the interviews were required many years ago. The USCIS has mentioned this new requirement is being imposed to detect potential fraud and threats to national security. However, legal analysts are mostly skeptical about the effectiveness of the measure in this regard. If anything, interviews conducted at U.S. consular offices abroad tend to be more effective, but staffing levels at U.S. Embassies and Consulates have been reduced under the Trump administration.

If you’d like to learn more about temporary employment immigration as well as citizenship services in San Diego, get in touch with San Diego’s top immigration lawyers at KS Visa Law. Give us a call today at 858-874-0711 to set up an appointment.

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