Immigration attorneys are struggling with the workload required for their petitions since the last election. Find out how to get a head start in immigration before the next elections in 2020.
It’s still 19 months away and yet the countdown to Election Day 2020 has already begun, at least in the minds of the politicians. But for the savvy immigration attorney, preparation should already be underway to consider how a new leader or a second term for Trump might impact their own workload.
Impact of RFE on the H-1B Process
During the past two years, several changes have been imposed in various visa segments, including H-1B visas, and with the introduction of an executive order to “Buy American and Hire American,” extra scrutiny has been imposed for new and existing H-1B processes. For example, since the election in 2016, there has been a huge increase in the number of petitions facing Request for Further Evidence (RFE) – we estimate more than 75% of applications now require more information than in previous years. To add to this, the House of Judiciary Committee is also looking at a hike in the prevailing wage limit.
But these additional restrictions have done little to taper the number of H-1B CAP petitions – with an average of 200,000 petitions applied for annually. Despite having labeled restrictions on the CAP number, petitions are overflowing to the US Citizens and Immigration Services (USCIS). Although it is forecasted that a new system of pre-registration will be introduced by the USCIS, the challenges will remain for immigration attorneys.
Maintaining H-1B Draft Quality
The sheer volume of petitions they need to file means it’s challenging to maintain the quality of each draft even though the draft is crucial to achieving quick, efficient approvals. Drafting the H-1B petition is a complex process with multiple parameters that must be met to get approval from USCIS.
From demonstrating that the candidate has the right skills, to ensuring wages comply with DOL Regulations, and ensuring the correct resource is defined correctly within the petition. And this is before any RFEs come flooding back. It is always crucial to understand several factors while drafting a petition which is why having a comprehensive knowledge of updated immigration laws and changes is essential.
Drafting therefore takes time, each requires multiple engagements with the clients, and that’s not even considering an immigration attorney’s core competent work on top of that. And, because H-1B CAP is seasonal and volume based, it is challenging to scale-up in short notice or on a temporary basis – the skills required are too hefty to train quickly and would be entirely cost prohibitive. All of which, means immigration attorneys are frenetically trying to keep their processes together, their applications on track and of course, their corporate stakeholders happy.
Given the changes that have occurred in just the past two years, it’s never too early for immigration attorneys to start thinking about the next two years and what might occur after November 3rd, 2020. Regardless of whether we see a new man or woman at the helm, there are bound to be additional changes and legal alterations around immigration that mean an increased workload, more forms to be filled and information to be filed. Better to get the processes streamlined and best practice in place now, so when election fever hits, you’re ready to meet the skills and resource requirements of your organization.