New Pilot Program Assists U.S. Employers to Sponsor Immigrant and Nonimmigrant Visas

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On March 3, 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) announced the launch of the Known Employer Pilot Program (“KEPP”), which modifies the process by which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) reviews a U.S. employer’s eligibility to sponsor individuals under certain immigrant and nonimmigrant visa classifications.  While now just limited to nine (9) preselected companies, the launch of KEPP demonstrates that USCIS is aware of the need to expedite employment-based visa applications and petitions for U.S. companies.  Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP hopes that the KEPP is successful, so that more employers are able to accelerate the hiring of qualified foreign nationals.

Under the KEPP, U.S. employers may request that USCIS review and predetermine whether it has satisfied eligibility requirements for select visa classifications before petitioning or applying for individual employees.  These requirements generally relate to the employer’s corporate structure, operations, and financial health.

Only two employment-based immigrant visa classifications are currently covered under the KEPP.

  1. EB-1B, Outstanding Professor or Researcher, and
  2. EB-1C, Multinational Manager or Executive.

Only four employment-based nonimmigrant visa classifications are currently covered under the KEPP.

  1. H-1B, Specialty Occupation;
  2. L-1A, Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager;
  3. L-1B, Intracompany Transferee in a Position Utilizing Specialized Knowledge; and
  4. TN, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) temporary professionals from Mexico and Canada

While the pilot program is only scheduled to last for one year (though it may be terminated or extended at any time), USCIS may seek to institute a permanent program to all eligible employers.  The purpose behind the KEPP is to reduce paperwork, to promote consistency in adjudications of employment-based petitions and applications, and to achieve greater efficiency within USCIS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), and the U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) at ports of entry and at consular posts.

The KEPP assists U.S. employers by facilitating cross-border business travelers.  As our clients already know, having a standardized employer document template/packet for each of these visa classifications as part of a comprehensive corporate immigration program can dramatically streamline the nonimmigrant visa and green card process. .

This post originally appeared on Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group. Copyright © 2016 Wolfsdorf Connect - All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.


About The Author

Bernard Wolfsdorf Bernard Wolfsdorf is the managing partner of the top-rated law firm, Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP (www.wolfsdorf.com), and the past national president of the 14,000-member American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Established in 1986, Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP is known worldwide for providing exceptional quality legal services. With 19 lawyers and offices in Los Angles and New York, the firm was recently listed as a top-tier immigration practice by Chambers & Partners with several of the firm's attorneys listed in the 2015 International Who's Who Legal. Mr. Wolfsdorf specializes in EB-5 investment immigration in addition to the full range of global immigration matters.

Joseph Barnett Joseph Barnett is licensed as an attorney in the State of Illinois and the State of Wisconsin and practices exclusively in immigration and nationality law. Mr. Barnett's practice focuses in the area of EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program and other business immigration matters. Mr. Barnett received his J.D. from Vermont Law School. Mr. Barnett may be contact at jbarnett@wolfsdorf.com


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