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Immigrant Denied H-1B Visa on Eve of Getting Green Card

Jan. 29, 2019, 8:21 PM

An immigrant about 18 months shy of receiving his green card has illegally been denied an extension of his temporary work visa, potentially forcing him and his family to leave the U.S., according to a new lawsuit.

Ajay Kuchikulla, an Oracle database administrator for Dublin, Ohio-based ERP Analysts Inc., was denied what likely would have been the last extension of his H-1B skilled guestworker visa prior to becoming a permanent resident, according to the complaint filed Jan. 28 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The denial came despite several prior approvals of H-1B extensions for Kuchikulla, whose job essentially has remained the same since he got his first H-1B visa in 2005, it said.

Kuchikulla was approved for his green card in 2012 but has had to wait for one to become available. Based on current projections of green card availability, he will be eligible to become a permanent resident around April 2020.

Targeting IT Consulting Companies

The complaint, filed by Virginia-based immigration attorney Jonathan Wasden, blames U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ implementation of a February 2018 policy requiring additional evidence from information technology consulting companies seeking H-1B visas.

The policy is part of a coordinated Trump administration effort to ban IT consulting companies from the H-1B program, the complaint said. The USCIS relied on ERP Analysts’ inability to meet additional evidentiary demands placed on such companies to deny Kuchikulla’s visa, even though he works directly for the company and not at a third-party site, it said.

A representative for the USCIS wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Wasden is one of several immigration attorneys challenging USCIS policies and visa petition decisions in court. He’s filed two other lawsuits that directly challenge the third-party placement policy. One says the policy is illegally preventing consulting companies from getting H-1B visas, while another says the USCIS is illegally approving those companies’ H-1B visas only for very short time periods, such as days or weeks.

A federal judge in New Jersey recently denied the USCIS’s request to throw out the first case, although she declined to order that the third-party placement policy be put on hold.

The case is ERP Analysts Inc. v. Cissna, D.D.C., No. 1:19-cv-00193, complaint filed 1/28/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Laura D. Francis in Washington at lfrancis@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Nadel at snadel@bloomberglaw.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bloomberglaw.com