- The Neufeld Memo is in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), which governs rule-making by government agencies and sets forth minimum procedures which must be followed by government agencies issuing new rules. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) did not follow the procedures required by the APA when it unilaterally changed the requirements for an H-1B employer-employee relationship.
- Though the intended target of the H-1B Neufeld Memo was clearly IT Consultants, its consequences extend far beyond the IT Consulting profession. For example, doctors in many circumstances would no longer meet the H-1B employer-employee requirements because many are employed by entities other than the hospitals in which they perform their day-to-day services.
- The policies set forth in the memorandum will negatively impact H-1B employers and employees alike. The memorandum imposes evidentiary obligations that an H-1B employer may not necessarily be able to fulfill at the time of the petition, such as letters from the end clients in the context of IT Consultants. These requirements are extremely cumbersome and make it very difficult for H-1B employers to petition for legitimately needed H-1B employees.
- The adjudication policies outlined in the memorandum will undoubtedly spread to other nonimmigrant visas and further the effects of this illegal rulemaking. If the Neufeld Memorandum is not withdrawn, not only will such policies have an adverse effect on adjudications in the H-1B visa category, but will embolden the USCIS to continue illegal rule-making in other visa categories.
- The Neufeld Memorandum introduces new factors to be considered when evaluating an H-1B employer-employee relationship. The current regulations define an H-1B employer as one which is “indicated by the fact that it may hire, pay, fire, supervise, or otherwise control the work of any such employee.” The memorandum’s employer-employee relationship requirements far exceed the scope of the current regulation.
- The Neufeld Memo creates more confusion than clarity surrounding the requirements for an H-1B employer-employee relationship, especially because the memorandum contains internal inconsistencies regarding the requirements of employee control. The memorandum is riddled with contradictions regarding whether the legal standard is “actual control” or the “right to control” the H-1B employee.
- The memorandum creates a greater paperwork burden for both employers and the USCIS. The last thing struggling employers need in this economy is a greater amount of paperwork. With business resources stretched to the breaking point already, the additional evidentiary requirements outlined in the Neufeld Memorandum could be detrimental to many U.S. businesses.
- Many H-1B employees attempting to renew their visas will be unfairly denied because the Neufeld Memorandum employer-employee relationship requirements have changed since the beneficiary’s last visa issuance/renewal. Though their “previously approved” employer-employee relationship will not have changed, their H-1B renewal could be denied because the USCIS has single-handedly changed the employer-employee relationship criteria.
- Given the implementation of the Neufeld Memorandum’s new employer-employee relationship criteria, some H-1B workers may be in danger of having their visas revoked through no fault of their own. It would be within the discretion of the USCIS to revoke any H-1B visas they feel do not meet the requirements set forth in the Neufeld Memorandum, though no circumstances would have changed since the visa approval.
- The USCIS has claimed the memorandum was issued to provide consistency in adjudication procedures across the Service Centers, but in reality the memorandum’s contents are open to a myriad of interpretations. Thus, the memorandum is likely to have the opposite effect and result in varied decisions that are highly inconsistent across the Service Centers.
I know I am supposed to list only the top 10 reasons. But I could not resist adding one more:
- USCIS has a history of committing clear violations of the law and backing out when they find themselves in hot water. The most recent incident is when USCIS had to extend to Aug 17, 2007 accepting adjustment of status filings under the July 2007 Visa Bulletin, when they illegally tried to stop accepting cases by claiming every available visa number to stop petitioners form legally filing their adjustment of status petitions.
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