The USCIS has mandated sweeping changes in the use of H-1B visas, redefining the employer-employee relationship for third-party worksite placements pursuant to H-1B petitions, among other things. The changes, which have alarmed many employers, came in memorandum from the agency’s Associate Director of Service Center Operations, Donald Neufeld, this past January.

Although the “Neufeld Memo” arguably targets consulting companies which place professionals at third-party worksites, it also has a significant impact on U.S. employers who supplement their full time workforces with teams of both talented U.S. and foreign workers, considered consultants. In a recession, these consultants make up a significant portion of corporate workforces and are vital to many companies’ continued viability.

If fully implemented, the Neufeld Memo could result in denials of amendments and extensions of status for current H-1B visa holders. In addition, H-1B workers travelling internationally may face re-adjudication and denial of admission by Immigration officials at U.S. ports of entry. Lastly, this could result in potential revocations of status for H-1B visa holders should the USCIS conduct workplace site visits.

While challenges to the Neufeld Memo are mounted and considered, we will continue to guide clients on how to enhance chances of securing H-1B visa approvals under the Memo rule.