USCIS Closely Reviewing Evidence of Prior Experience in I-140 Petitions12 Aug 2013
In recent months, attorneys at the Murthy Law Firm have received a number of phone calls from individuals seeking assistance in evidencing their prior work experience to support their respective I-140 employment-based immigrant petitions. It appears the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has begun to focus heavily on this issue, sending out requests for evidence (RFEs) that contain questions and concerns regarding such matters as the format of experience letters, the use of colleague affidavits, and the reliance on part-time work experience.
Content Matters in Experience Letters
In order for the USCIS to approve an I-140 petition that is based on a PERM labor certification, it is necessary to document that the foreign national beneficiary possesses the education and/or experience required for the sponsored position. Therefore, employment experience letters are often important supporting documents for such a petition. However, a simple verification from the prior employer may not suffice. Rather, the USCIS generally looks for letters that provide details that are specific enough to establish that the beneficiary meets the basic requirements for the requested position, as set forth in the PERM labor certification.
The USCIS is also expecting each experience letter to explicitly lay out whether the work was part-time or full-time employment. Time spent in a part-time position typically will not count as much as time spent in a full-time position, for purposes of determining the amount of work experience a beneficiary possesses. Therefore, it is important that a work experience letter clarifies this issue for the USCIS.
Affidavits in Lieu of Detailed Experience Letters
Many people cannot obtain detailed experience letters from their previous employers for a variety of reasons. The regulations provide that, if such letters are not available, other secondary documentation may be considered. The regulations also state that if primary evidence (i.e. experience letter from the former employer) is unavailable, the beneficiary should demonstrate the unavailability of the letter, and provide at least two affidavits from colleagues. It is often necessary to obtain qualified legal assistance with issues of this nature, as the requirements are somewhat complex and the USCIS may question the sufficiency of such evidence.
The USCIS is closely scrutinizing the experience documentation submitted with I-140 petitions. Employers and beneficiaries who need assistance in preparing I-140 petitions or responding to RFEs requesting evidence of prior employment experience should schedule a consultation with a Murthy Law Firm attorney.
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