Filing an H-1B nonimmigrant cap/transfer/extension/amended visa petition after the release of the “MEMO”

In support of an H-1B petition, a petitioner must not only establish that the beneficiary is coming to the United States temporarily to work in a specialty occupation but the petitioner must also satisfy the requirement of being a U.S. employer by establishing that a valid employer-employee relationship exists between the U.S. employer and the beneficiary throughout the requested H-1B validity period. The Petitioner must also file an LCA specific to EACH location where the beneficiary will be working.

“United States employer,” is defined at C.F.R. 214.2(h)(4)(ii) as follows:
United States employer means a person, firm, corporation, contractor, or other association, or organization in the United States which:

(1) Engages a person to work in the United States;
(2) Has an employer-employee relationship with respect to employees under this part, as indicated by the fact that it may hire, pay, fire, supervise, or otherwise control the work of any such employee; and (3) Has an Internal Revenue Service Tax identification number.

In considering whether or not there is a valid “employer-employee relationship” for purposes of H-1B petition adjudication, USCIS must determine if the employer has a sufficient level of control over the employee. Level of control meaning right to control, which is different from actual control. An employer may have the right to control the beneficiary’s job related duties and yet not exercise actual control over each function performed by that beneficiary. The employer-employee relationship hinges on the RIGHT to control the beneficiary.

Evidence which helps to establish the employer-employee relationship between Petitioner and Beneficiary:

INITIAL PETITION
• A complete itinerary of services or engagements that specifies the dates of each service or engagement, the name and addresses of the actual employer, and the names and addresses of the establishment, venues, or locations where the services will be performed for the period of time requested;
• Copy of signed employment agreement between the petitioner and beneficiary detailing the terms and conditions of employment;
• Copy of an employment offer letter that clearly describes the nature of the employer-employee relationship and the services to be performed by the beneficiary;
• Copy of relevant portions of valid contracts between the petitioner and a client (in which the petitioner has entered into a business agreement for which the petitioner’s employees will be utilized) that establishes that while the petitioner’s employees are place at the third party worksite, the petitioner will continue to have the right to control its employees;
• Copies of signed contractual agreements, statements of work, work orders, service agreements, and letters between the petitioner and the authorized officials of the ultimate end-client companies where the work will actually be performed by the beneficiary, which provide information such as a detailed description of the duties the beneficiary will perform, the qualifications that are required to perform the job duties, salary, or wages paid, hours worked, benefits, a brief description of who will supervise the beneficiary and their duties, and any other related evidence;
• Copy of position description or any other documentation that describes the skills required to perform the job offered, the scours of the instrumentalities and tools needed to perform the job, the product to be developed or the service to be provided, the location where the beneficiary will perform the duties, the duration of the relationship between the petitioner and beneficiary, whether the petitioner has the right to assign additional duties, the extent of petitioner’s discretion over when and how long the beneficiary will work, the method of payment, the petitioner’s role in paying and hiring assistants to be utilized by the beneficiary, whether the work to be performed is part of the regular business of the petitioner, the provision of employees benefits, and the tax treatment of the beneficiary in relation to the petitioner;
• Description of the performance review process; and or • Copy of petitioner’s organizational chart, demonstrating beneficiary’s supervisory chain

EXTENSION PETITIONS

• Copies of the beneficiary’s pay records (leave and earnings statements, and pay stubs, etc) for the period of the previously approved H-1B status;
• Copies of the beneficiary’s payroll summaries and/or Form W-2s, evidencing wages paid to the beneficiary during the period of previously approved H-1B status;
• Copy of time sheets during the period of previously approved H-1B status;
• Copy of prior years’ work schedules;
• Documentary examples of work product created or produced by the beneficiary for the past H-1B validity period ( copies of: business plans, reports, presentations, evaluations, recommendations, critical reviews, promotional materials, designs, blueprints, newspaper articles, web-site text, news copy, photographs of prototypes, etc) NOTE: the materials must clearly substantiate the author and date created;
• copy of dated performance review(s); and/or • copy of any employment history records, including but not limited to, documentation showing date of hire, dates of job changes, (e.g. , the petitioner is able to demonstrate that it did not meet all the terms and conditions through no fault of its own). Such a limited exception will be made solely on a case-by-case basis.

Request for Evidence (RFE)
If Requests for Evidence (RFE) are made, such RFEs, must specifically state (1) what is at issue (e.g., the petitioner has failed to establish through evidence that a valid employer-employee relationship exists) and (2) be tailored to request specific types of evidence from the petitioner that go directly to what USCIS deems as deficient. The RFE should neither require that a specific type of evidence be provided, unless provided for by regulations (e.g., an itinerary of service dates and locations), nor should it request information that has already been provided in the petition. Officers should state what element the petitioner has failed to establish and provide examples of documentation that could be provided to establish H-1B eligibility.

WHAT IS ULTIMATELY REQUIRED?
Compliance with 8 C.F.R. 214.2(h)(2)(i)(B) assists USCIS in determining that the petitioner has concrete plans in place for a particular beneficiary, that the beneficiary is performing duties in a specialty occupation, and that the beneficiary is not being “benched” without pay between assignments.

Source: AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 10011363 (Posted 1/13/2010)

If you have any questions relating to the information summarized above, please do not hesitate to contact our office to schedule a consultation.