DHS Launches New Program to Help Petitioning US Employers

On March 3, 2016, the United States Department of Homeland Security announced the launch of its Known Employer pilot project, which is intended to improve the process for USCIS in determining employment eligibility for individuals being sponsored for work visas by petitioning U.S. employers.

The Known Employer pilot is expected to help both USCIS and sponsoring U.S. companies wanting to hire certain workers through employment-based visa categories by reducing processing delays.

Plans to initiate the Known Employer pilot project were first introduced in January 2015 through the “Beyond the Border Initiative” between the United States and Canada. Continued work will focus on making the employment eligibility process more efficient while reducing delays for U.S. employers that wish to employ foreign workers in particular immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs.

Some of the changes include:

  • Paperwork requirements will be reduced.
  • There will be a more consistent approach to adjudication of employment-based petitions and applications, and streamlining measures will be put in place.
  • There will be greater support for CBP and DOS in support of greater efficiency and consistency at ports of entry and consular posts.

This pilot project is the result of work done last year by the Department of Homeland Security to explore a Known Employer pilot project “to modernize and streamline the process for U.S. employers seeking to employ certain foreign workers,” said USCIS Director León Rodríguez.  The March 3, 2016 announcement is an extension of the USCIS partnering with a select group of representative organizations across a variety of industries to determine how they can improve efficiency and reduce costs.

To continue with the Known Employer pilot project, up to nine preselected employers will be asked to file predetermination applications in the Web-based Known Employer Document Library (KEDL).  If USCIS approves the applications, the employers may then file petitions for individual employees without needing to resubmit company information with each petition or application.

There are no additional fees for employers to participate in the Known Employer pilot project, which is scheduled to last for up to one year.

For more information, including a list of participating employers, see the Known Employer pilot page.