Silicon Valley H-1B Employers Face Even More Requirements

H-1B employers in Silicon Valley will soon be facing yet another burden when applying for nonimmigrant visas for their foreign national employees. They may now have to incur the extra effort and expense of registering with Dun & Bradstreet (D&B), an Independent Information Provider (IIP) company that validates basic information about companies or organizations. D&B maintains a database of over 190 million companies across the globe, and will provide the USCIS with a business profile of any registered company, including company size, a credit profile, and any other public information. The introduction of D&B is spurred by USCIS' new VIBE program, a web-based tool that allows the USCIS to use information provided by an IIP (in this case, D&B) to verify a petitioning employer's qualifications. The VIBE program applies to most nonimmigrant visa categories.

The current trend in immigration law is that employers are receiving Requests For Evidence (RFEs), when the D&B information is either nonexistent for the petitioning company, or inconsistent with the information provided in the employer's petition. Even when petitioner's submit current documentation about their company, the USCIS is allowing the D&B profile to trump the information provided by the petitioner. This means that U.S. companies petitioning for foreign nationals might want to ensure that they are not only registered with D&B, but that their profile is up-to-date.

Though USCIS is stating that registering and updating a D&B profile is free of charge, the likelihood is that employers will be paying at least a couple hundred dollars to validate their company, or update their information. An employer who responds to an RFE about a discrepency with the D&B report could always provide information to show that the D&B report is just wrong. However, for employers filing multiple H-1Bs, it might make the most sense to just pay the fee for D&B in order to stave off these types of RFE's.

H-1B Visas, Work Visas / by Michelle Gee