A May 4 memorandum from the U.S. Citizenship and Immgiration Services (CIS) discusses in detail how CIS adjudicators should determine whether an employer can pay the offered wage on I-140 immigrant visa petitions. This memo, written by William R. Yates, Assocate Director for Operations, also details the appropriate times for CIS to issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) for financial documentation on I-140 Visa petitions.
According to Yates, CIS adjudicators have been unnecessarily issuing RFEs, causing a delay in processing of I-140 petitions and creating a significant backlog of cases that have limited CIS resources. As part of CIS’s committment to reduce the level of backlogged cases, the agency intends to amend regulations affecting these situations; in the interim, the Bureau has released this memorandum to provide guidance and clearance to adjudicators.
The following three points were clarified and elaborated in the May 4 memorandum:
(1) If a record on ability to pay is not complete, an RFE should be issued
In Yates’s memorandum, it was stated that an adjucaticator should issue an RFE when certain information on Form I-140 is incomplete, including the date the employer was established, the employer’s current number of employees, and their gross or net annual income. An RFE should also be issued when applications do not include at least one of three required documents that establish the employer’s ability to pay the proffered wage.
(2) If a record on ability to pay is complete, adjudicators have the discretion to make decisions based on the provided record
If the petitioning employer has included all required information on Form I-140 and has submitted at least one of the three required documents that establish the employer’s ability to pay the proffered wage, the adjudicator has the right to make a decision based solely on that information. An RFE for further documentation of ability to pay is not required.
Adjudicators may make a positive decision regarding an employer’s ability to pay under the following circumstances:
· The petitioner’s net income is equal to or greater than the proffered wage;
· The petitioner’s net current assets are equal to or greater than the proffered wage; or
· Credible and verifiable evidence is provided by the employer that shows that the employer is employing the beneficiary and is currently paying (or has paid) the proffered wage.
If the provided evidence does not support a decision that the employer can afford to pay the proffered wage, the adjudicator may deny the petition, based on the fact that the employer has not been able to establish eligibility for the I-140 Visa.
(3) Adjudicators are not required to accept financial evidence
While employers are allowed to submit financial statements/evidence instead of required initial evidence, the acceptance of this information as proof of ability to pay is at the discretion of the individual adjudicator. Adjudicators are not required to accept, request or issue RFEs for financial statements from US employers of 100 or more workers. In addition, adjudicators are not required to accept, request or issue RFEs for supplemental financial evidence from any employer, regardless of their business size.
If the adjudicator does choose to accept financial statements/evidence, the provided evidence must clearly establish the employer’s ability to pay the proffered wage. If there are any doubts to this, the adjudicator may deny the case without issuing an RFE to request further documentation of ability to pay.