Increased Scrutiny on Employer Employee Relationships for H-1B Visa Petitions

In a recently published memorandum USCIS has indicated that they will request detailed documentation to ensure a legitimate employer-employee relationship is maintained while an employee is working at a third-party work-site. This policy is in line with historical USCIS policy requiring a legitimate employer employee relationship for H-1B Visa petitions.

Effective February 23, 2018, the policy indicates that USCIS will require employers to provide contracts and itineraries for employees who will work at a third-party location. The burden is on the petitioner to show by a preponderance of evidence that, the beneficiary will be employed in a specialty occupation; and the employer will maintain an employer-employee relationship with the beneficiary for the duration of the requested validity period.

When H-1B beneficiaries are placed at third-party worksites, petitioners must demonstrate that they have specific assignments in a specialty occupation for that beneficiary for the entire time requested on the petition. While an H-1B petition may be approved for up to three years, USCIS will, in its discretion, generally limit the approval period to the length of time demonstrated that the beneficiary will be placed in non-speculative work and during which the petitioner will maintain the requisite employer-employee relationship.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has provided a method to determine whether an employer-employee relationship exists and will continue throughout the duration of the H1B employment period. There are a number of factors that USCIS considers in making this determination. The major deciding factor in determining the employer-employee relationship is what USCIS calls, “right to control.”

To determine whether or not the employer has the “right to control” the employee, USCIS considers the following:

-Does the petitioner supervise the beneficiary and is such supervision off-site or on-site?
-If the supervision is off-site, how does the petitioner maintain such supervision, i.e. weekly calls, reporting back to main office routinely, or site visits by the petitioner?
-Does the petitioner have the right to control the work of the beneficiary on a day-to-day basis of such control is required?
-Does the petitioner provide the tools or instrumentalities needed for the beneficiary to perform the duties of employment?
-Does the petitioner hire, pay and have the ability to fire the beneficiary?
-Does the petitioner evaluate the work-product of the beneficiary, i.e. progress/performance reviews?
-Does the petitioner claim the beneficiary for tax purposes?
-Does the petitioner provide the beneficiary any type of employee benefits?
-Does the beneficiary produce an end product that is directly linked to the petitioner’s line of business?
-Does the petitioner have the ability to control the manner and means in which the work product of the beneficiary is accomplished?

The key in USCIS’s determination process is whether they believe the employer will have control over the employee. If as the employer you have the ability to control duties, work schedule, offer benefits, pay a set wage and can ultimately hire and fire the employee, you probably have control over the employee. The freer the employee is to set their own schedule, determine their duties and work autonomously, the more likely control does not exist. We have experience assisting both employers and employees navigate the complexities of the H1B employer-employee relationship. If you need assistance obtaining an H1B visa, we can help.

Contact Us Today to Speak with an H1B Visa Lawyer:

1-866-697-1832

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