A fast-track program for employers seeking to sponsor foreign workers for employment-based visas will launch as a one-year pilot program, the Department of Homeland Security announced today.

The “Known Employer” program is intended to streamline employment-based immigration applications by allowing certain employers to obtain designation for fast-track processing, eliminating redundant filings and reducing costs and delays.

If the trial period is successful, the program will become permanent and all eligible employers will be able to apply for the designation.

In the pilot phase, up to nine employers, who were preselected by DHS and the State Department, will register an online profile in a newly created Known Employer Document Library database and submit Form I-950, Application for Predetermination under Known Employer Program. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will then determine whether to designate them as Known Employers who meet eligibility requirements to petition for certain immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. If approved, the employers will be able to file certain immigration petitions for foreign employees without needing to resubmit company information for each petition. The visa categories covered by the pilot program include nonimmigrant H-1B, L-1 and TN visas, and EB-1 immigrants in the outstanding professor/researcher category and multinational executive/manager category.

Employers designated as Known Employers will also benefit from faster processing because USCIS officers will not need to review whether they meet the eligibility criteria for every petition and will only review the remaining criteria, such as the employee’s proposed role and qualifications, for individual petitions. Additional information about the pilot program can be found on the USCIS website.

BAL Analysis: BAL has been working with DHS to move forward with a trusted-employer program to improve processing of employment-based petitions. The pilot program is a very positive and welcome step toward increasing efficiency and lowering business costs for low-risk employers applying for employment-based visas.

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