DHS Begins Known Employer Pilot Program14 Apr 2016
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has started a pilot program intended to streamline the employment-based immigration process for participating employers. The Known Employer pilot is intended to reduce or eliminate the need for repeated review and assessment on the background and bona fides of sponsoring employers in the immigration process.
The Known Employer pilot was announced in January 2015, and was officially launched in March 2016. This program is tied to cooperative efforts between the U.S. and Canadian governments dating back to 2011.
Five Employers Preselected to Participate in Pilot
Five employers have been preselected to participate in the pilot program. These employers were selected mutually by the DHS and the U.S. Department of State (DOS). The employers are: Citigroup, Inc.; Ernst & Young; Kiewit Corporation; Schaeffler Group USA, Inc., and Siemens Corporation.
Process for Known Employer Qualification Predetermination
For the time being, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is not accepting applications from employers who wish to participate in the Known Employer pilot. However, the USCIS has provided a brief overview of the application process. The employer would create a profile in an online Known Employer Document Library (KEDL) and submit an application form for predetermination of company qualifications under this program. To determine whether to grant the request, the USCIS will review details related to “… the employer’s corporate structure, operations, and financial health.”
Streamlined Paperwork Submission Procedures
Employers accepted into the program will be allowed to “… file petitions or applications for individual employees without needing to resubmit evidence with respect to any requirements that have been with each individual petition or application.” So, a Known Employer may not have to submit a new operating agreement, business license, and/or stock certificates every time a new case is filed on behalf of a foreign national worker. However, case-specific documents, such as the foreign national’s education documents, still would have to be provided.
Streamlined Adjudications of Employee’s Eligibility
With this change, the USCIS officers would only have to review the foreign national’s qualification information to determine eligibility for case approval. The employer’s eligibility to sponsor employees in the particular category already would have been favorably determined. Thus, the adjudicators would not have to consider employer related issues, unless there has been a substantial change or there are indications of fraud or misrepresentation.
Filing Paperwork Reduced and Data Sharing with Other Agencies
In addition to the streamlining goals of the Known Employer pilot, the program also aims to reduce the volume of paperwork employers must file and the USCIS must retain. It is hoped that the program will increase consistency in adjudications, as employer information is not reconsidered with each filing. Finally, the program aims to provide support to both the DOS and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), as the KEDL documents will be available for review by DOS and CBP officials.
It is encouraging to see that the DHS is taking steps to streamline various aspects of the U.S. immigration system. MurthyDotCom will provide updates on this program as new information becomes available.
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