Finally – USCIS is Reverting Back to Pre-Trump Policy of Giving Deference to Prior Determinations

Great news for petitioners and beneficiaries of H-1B and other nonimmigrant work categories. USCIS just announced that it has revised its policy manual and reverted back to the previous practice of giving deference to prior determinations when adjudicating extension requests.

This totally makes sense. Why challenge an extension when the underlying facts have not changed and in most cases have improved since the initial filing such as increased wage? Most RFEs are easily drafted using templates with minor edits to individualize the request such as adding the company name and copying and pasting a few lines from the position description. Because RFEs are so easily generated without much work on the part of the reviewing officer, the RFE rate hit an all-time high of around 60% in 2018.

This return to giving deference to prior approvals will no doubt improve overall efficiency and processing time. It will certainly eliminate extreme absurdities like the one below.

Same job, same beneficiary, same company. Received RFE on Specialty Occupation during initial filing. Received RFE on Specialty occupation again 3 years later during extension filing.