Council for Global Immigration quoted in article – “DHS Considering ‘Known Employer’ Program To Streamline Employment Visa Adjudication”

Council in the News

​​Reproduced with permission from Workplace Immigration Report, 9 WIR 53 (Jan. 19. 2015). Copyright 2015 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) <>

​​“DHS Considering ‘Known Employer’ Program To Streamline Employment Visa Adjudication”

Bloomberg BNA, Workplace Immigration Report, 01/19/2015 – (No link available).

The Department of Homeland Security Jan. 15 announced that it is considering a ‘‘known employer’’ pilot program aimed at streamlining the adjudication of certain employment-based visa petitions.

The program, expected to be launched by late 2015, would aim to make adjudications more efficient and less costly, and to reduce paperwork and delays both for the government and employers seeking foreign workers.

According to the DHS, the program would be administered jointly by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Customs and Border Patrol, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

One of the goals of the pilot program would be to expedite and otherwise facilitate business-related travel across the border with Canada, the DHS said. The program is part of a commitment under both the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Beyond the Border initiative, a joint project of the U.S. and Canada.

The DHS said a specific commitment made under the Beyond the Border initiative is to ‘‘explore the feasibility of incorporating a trusted employer concept in the processing of business travelers between Canada and the United States.’’

‘Good First Step.’ The Council for Global Immigration, a trade association that advocates for immigration changes on behalf of large, multinational employers, has long advocated for a trusted employer program that would allow for USCIS pre-approval of business for certain visa programs so that adjudication of actual visa petitions only would involve scrutinizing the qualifications of the foreign worker.

Rebecca Peters, the council’s director and counsel for legislative affairs, told Bloomberg BNA Jan. 15 that her organization is ‘‘grateful that the government is moving forward,’’ adding that the pilot program is ‘‘a good first step.’’

At the same time, she said the program’s details will determine whether or not it comports with what the council has been advocating.

According to Peters, Canadian workers seeking employment visas either can apply directly with Customs and Border Protection at ports of entry or the airport, or they can apply with the USCIS. The main problem employers face with border adjudications, she said, is their lack of predictability and certainty, while the challenge with USCIS adjudications is that they ‘‘take a long time.’’

Must ‘Move at the Speed of Business.’ Peters said any known employer pilot program needs to ‘‘move at the speed of business,’’ and should be modeled on other successful border facilitation programs such as the CBP’s Trusted Traveler program and the Transportation Security Administration’s Precheck program.

The council does want to see a trusted employer/ known employer program expanded to all employment visas adjudicated by the USCIS.

‘‘We’re going to have a lot more caseloads’’ as a result of President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, which among other things created a deferred action program for some 5 million undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (8 WIR 753, 11/24/14), Peters said.

‘‘It’s programs like these that make a lot of sense for the agency to be streamlining their processes and saving their resources,’’ she said. ‘‘We want something that’s going to work for employers.’’​​