A new lawsuit, ITServe Alliance v. USCIS, argues that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is “trying to end the information technology consulting…business model.” Among other things, plaintiffs note that until recently, USCIS adjudicated initial H-1B (lottery) petitions in a relatively timely manner to allow for approvals on the requested start date of October 1. But in 2018 and 2019, the time the agency took to adjudicate an H-1B lottery petition grew to 9.5 to 12.5 months, despite the fact that Congress expected the agency to conclude H-1B adjudications within 30 days.

The lawsuit asks whether USCIS is relying on factors Congress had not intended the agency to consider when adjudicating H-1B visas filed by the IT consulting industry, and asserts that the dramatic increase in processing times “is the direct result of [USCIS’s]…attack on the IT Consulting community” through the agency’s informal adjudications and policy memos.

The lawsuit also notes that USCIS recently increased the processing times and percentage of requests for evidence sent on initial H-1B petitions, and points to a disparity in adjudications and processing times for direct employers versus IT consulting firms.

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