Last week, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched its “Known Employer” pilot program, which is intended to assess a new process for employers seeking to hire certain workers through employment-based visa categories, including H-1B visas.
The goal of the program is to reduce paperwork, costs and delays in the processing of the worker visa requests. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will oversee the pilot in collaboration with the DHS Office of Policy, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the US Department of State (DOS).
Under the program, up to nine preselected employers will file applications requesting a USCIS determination that they meet requirements relating to immigrant and nonimmigrant visa classifications. If USCIS approves the employer’s predetermination request, the employer may then file petitions or applications for individual employees without needing to resubmit company information with each petition or application.
Companies selected for the pilot include:
- Citigroup Inc.
- Ernst & Young LLP
- Kiewit Corp.
- Schaeffler Group USA Inc.
- Siemens Corp.
Employers will not be charged any additional fees to participate in the Known Employer pilot. The pilot is scheduled to last for up to one year; however, USCIS may terminate or extend the pilot at any time. DHS and DOS will solicit ongoing feedback from the participants.
“Last year, DHS announced it would explore a Known Employer pilot to modernize and streamline the process for US employers seeking to employ certain foreign workers,” said USCIS Director León Rodríguez. “Today, we’re partnering with a select group of representative organizations across a variety of industries to determine how we can improve efficiency and cut costs. If successful, we will continue to build on this trial program and promote robust trade, travel, and economic prosperity.”