Many companies in California rely on H-1B workers to fill vacant positions for which they cannot find enough U.S. workers. Some companies rely on third-party staffing companies to secure the H-1B workers that they need for their vacant positions. The U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently settled a lawsuit, and the settlement is a win for H-1B workers and the staffing companies that sponsor them.

The USCIS has interpreted what constitutes an employer-employee relationship narrowly for years. The interpretation affected off-site employment of H-1B workers. In a 2010 memo, the USCIS asserted that it could deny H-1B visa applications based on a restrictive interpretation of an employer-employee relationship for off-site work. Under the USCIS’s interpretation, H-1B visa holders were required to submit extensive accounts of all of the work that they performed.

Two lawsuits were filed against the USCIS about its interpretation of the employer-employee relationship for H-1B workers who work off-site. The courts hearing the cases both ruled against the USCIS and found that its narrow interpretation of the employer-employee relationship was not supported by the Immigration and Nationality Act or the agency’s regulations. The USCIS, subsequently, agreed to end its requirement for off-site workers to account for what they did during each workday when they are off their employers’ primary sites.

The settlement agreement might make it easier for staffing companies to secure H-1B visas for the workers that they need for other companies. Staffing companies may want to work with employment immigration attorneys for help with submitting their H-1B visa applications to sponsor highly skilled employees. A lawyer might help their clients to ensure that they have submitted all of the required documentation correctly so that mistakes might be avoided. This may help to increase the chances that their clients’ H-1B visa petitions might be approved.