U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued guidance to USCIS adjudicators in a policy memorandum last week, instructing them to use their discretion to deny applications, petitions, and/or requests that are submitted without initial evidence or insufficient evidence of eligibility. The memorandum permits adjudicators to deny applicants who lack evidence of eligibility, without first issuing a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID).

"For too long, our immigration system has been bogged down with frivolous or meritless claims that slow down processing for everyone, including legitimate petitioners. Through this long overdue policy change, USCIS is restoring full discretion to our immigration officers to deny incomplete and ineligible applications and petitions submitted for immigration benefits," USCIS Director Francis Cissna said. "Doing so will discourage frivolous filings and skeletal applications used to game the system, ensure our resources are not wasted, and ultimately improve our agency's ability to efficiently and fairly adjudicate requests for immigration benefits in full accordance with our laws."

The new guidance could benefit American workers, particularly high-skilled American workers who compete for jobs against H-1B applicants. It could decrease the number of H-1B renewal applications while also discouraging employers from filing blanket applications since applications will have to be complete when filed. Under current policy, employers can file hundreds of partially completed H-1B applications knowing that USCIS will simply ask them for more information at a later date.

The guidance, which takes effect Sept. 11, 2018, applies to all applications, petitions, and requests received after that date, with the exception of DACA adjudications.

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Updated: Wed, Aug 1st 2018 @ 9:15am EDT