The Known Employer Pilot Program, introduced in January 2015 in the Department of Homeland Security’s United States-Canada Beyond the Border initiative, was just launched to assess methods for streamlining the adjudication process for employers sponsoring work visas and green cards.
Specifically, the program aims to:
- Reduce the amount of paperwork filed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
- Foster a consistent visa review process
- Provide more support to Custom and Border Protection and the Department of State at their designated ports of entry and consulates
“Preparing a work visa can often mean printing hundreds of pages of paper related to a company’s marketing and financial evidence,” says Earl Reyes, an Envoy-affiliated attorney. “We expect this pilot program to do away with that need. Moreover, right now, one officer may view a company’s documentation subjectively and request additional evidence relating to that company, despite the fact that historically the document requested hadn’t been required. A call to uniformity in submitting these petitions is certainly in order.”
Nine companies were selected to participate in this pilot stage, including environmental consulting and manufacturing firm Siemens, financial services provider Citigroup and the construction enterprise Kiewit. These employers will utilize a Web-based document library to upload materials for USCIS to review and predetermine if the employer has satisfied certain eligibility requirements before petitioning for individual visas and green cards.
“If the pilot program were to be continued indefinitely, I would think this would mean lower fees for extensions or future applications,” Reyes says. “But in all, the program has some good potential.”