USCIS Releases Policy Memo Signaling Regulatory Clampdown on H-1B Workers at Third-Party Worksites

February 23, 2018

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a policy memorandum signaling intent to require employers with H-1B workers at third-party worksites to "show by a preponderance of evidence that, among other things, 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."  A USCIS press release additionally states, "This policy memorandum makes clear that employers must provide contracts and itineraries for employees who will work at a third-party location."  Specifically, the memo establishes that employers will need to show: 

  • The petitioner [a.k.a employer] has a specific work assignment in place for the beneficiary;
  • The petition is properly supported by a Labor Condition Application that corresponds to such work; and
  • The work to be performed by the H-1B beneficiary will be in a specialty occupation based on the work requirements imposed by the end-client who uses the beneficiary’s services. 

H-1B specialty occupations require a bachelor’s degree or higher, an equivalent foreign degree, the equivalent in work experience, or accreditation in the field.  Computer and mathematics-related occupations made up 74 percent of H-1B visa petition certifications in fiscal 2016, with other occupational fields including finance, engineering, architecture, and management.  The move comes just over a month before the H-1B filing for fiscal 2019 opens on April 2, 2018.  Further regulatory moves on H-1B visas are expected throughout the year.