The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has launched a Known Employer Pilot Program to aid employers looking to hire workers through employment-based visa categories.
Currently, the process used by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review an employer’s eligibility to sponsor those under employment-based immigrant and non-immigrant categorizations is costly, and plagued by excessive paperwork and delays. The Known Employer pilot is expected to reduce these inefficiencies.
USCIS is overseeing the pilot in collaboration with DHS Office of Policy, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Department of State.
“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.”
DHS first announced its intention to explore the pilot program in January 2015 under the United States-Canada Beyond the Border initiative. The program had been recommend in a report titled, “Modernizing and Streamlining Our Legal Immigration System for the 21st Century” submitted to the President by federal agencies in July of 2015.
Goals of the Known Employer Pilot include:
- Promoting consistency in theadjudication of employment-based petitions and applications
- Providing greater support to CBP and DOS in support of greater efficiency and consistency at ports of entry and consular posts
Under the pilot program, a maximum of nine pre-selected employers will file applications to see if the USCIS finds that they meet the particular requirements that relate to certain immigrant and nonimmigrant visa classifications. In order to make the request, employers must create a profile in the Web-based Known Employer Document Library and upload the necessary documents that address the requirements.
USCIS officers review the submissions to determine whether that particular prospective employer has met the criteria. If approved, the employer must then file petitions or applications for individual employees without having to resubmit company information with each petition.
There will be no additional fees for employers to take part in the Known Employer pilot. The program has been scheduled to last up to one year; however USCIS reserves the right to terminate or extend it at any point in time. DHS and the Department of State plan to accrue ongoing feedback from participants.