Categories
Visas - H-1b, L-1, E, O, TN

L-1 RFE’s are handed out inconsistently between Service Centers?

The Service’s annual 2016 report to the Ombudsman was recently release and contained concerning information for L-1 visa petitioners. Unfortunately, the RFE rates of L-1 visas appear to continue to have no rhyme or reason.

“L-1A RFE data shows inverse trending between the CSC and the VSC. For example, CSC’s L-1A rates surged to 55 percent in FY 2015, its highest level in 20 years, while in the same period, VSC’s rate dropped dramatically from a high of 44.6 percent in FY 2014, to 29 percent in FY 2015. The number of L-1B RFEs dropped in FY 2015 at both service centers, to 44 percent at the CSC and 33 percent at the VSC.” See Ombudsman Report p. 59.

The L-1 memo, L-1B Policy Guidance Memorandum, was supposed to help alleviate some of this uncertainty. “It does not appear that RFE rates in FY 2015 were affected by this guidance, as it did not become final until August 17, 2015.” See Ombudsman Report p. 59. A very small sample size granted, but this memo was supposed to be seminal in the L-1 category. I’ll be eagerly anticipating next year’s report. What we can take away is that it looks like you’ll have a slightly better chance of getting an L-1A through Vermont and that L-1B’s RFE’s have dropped but not as much as we were hoping for when the L-1B Policy Guidance Memo was released.

Categories
Visas - H-1b, L-1, E, O, TN

USCIS Releases a 48 Page L-1B Denial Template

USCIS recently released a 48 page California Service Center (CSC) L-1B denial template in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).  The 48 denial template covers every conceivable way to deny an L-1B petition, whether or not supported by law, and even includes the kitchen sink.  Although a few of the pages do in fact cite to the immigration regulations, the vast majority of the template is cookie cutter, cut and paste and insert here.  This includes guidance to the adjudicator to [Insert name of petitioner] and [Insert CBP analysis of why petitioner/beneficiary failed to establish eligibility].  One of the many problems with this type of large template is that too much cut and paste and [insert here] leads to laziness, intended or not, on the part of the adjudicator.   Ultimately, what we have seen in practice is that even after a comprehensive review of the denial, we are unable to determine exactly why the petition was denied.  Which makes it tough to draft a motion to reconsider or motion to reopen.  Other times we find that the denial includes the wrong petitioner or beneficiary or discusses facts not specific to the particular case that was denied.  While USCIS states that such a template is needed for consistency of its decisions, we know that in real life, no two petitions are the same and thus, no two decisions should be the same.