Monday, November 26, 2018

USCIS Now Accepting Copies of Negative O Visa Consultations Directly from Labor Unions

The O-1 visa is set aside for individuals with extraordinary ability in science, education, business, athletics, or the arts, and individuals with extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry.  One filing requirement for O-1 cases is that the petitioner must submit an advisory opinion from a labor union in the field in which the O-1 nonimmigrant will practice.  For instance, a professional basketball player filing an O-1 must first obtain an advisory opinion from the National Basketball Players Association, a union advocating for professional basketball players.

While obtaining a negative opinion from a labor union is not an automatic bar to acquiring O-1 status, such an opinion might make a particular filing more challenging.

An O-1 petitioner will procure an opinion directly from the concerned union, and then submit it to USCIS as part of the O-1 filing.  USCIS is now slightly amending that process to address ostensible fraud in the industry:

Director L. Francis Cissna recently met with several labor unions to discuss concerns they had with the consultation process for O visa petitions, in particular that some advisory opinions may be falsified by petitioners and submitted to USCIS as no-objections or favorable consultations, when in fact these were negative. The labor unions will now be able to send a copy of a negative consultation letter to USCIS so that it can be compared to the consultation letter submitted to USCIS by the petitioner.

This latest move should not have any negative impact on legitimate filings where documents have not been doctored.  The change is in direct response to the arrest of an immigration attorney for fabricating dozens of O-1 non-objection letters from labor unions.

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