The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced its intent to implement a “Known Employer” pilot program to streamline the adjudication of certain employment-based visa applications. While details about the program have not been released, a goal of the pilot would be to expedite or otherwise facilitate legitimate cross-border business travel along the Northern border ports of entry. The program could make adjudications more efficient and less costly for both DHS and U.S. employers seeking to employ foreign workers.
This announcement stems from prior commitments made by the U.S. and Canadian governments under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), as well as the U.S.-Canada Beyond the Border Initiative. In particular, the U.S. and Canadian governments have previously discussed the feasibility of incorporating a trusted employer concept when processing business travelers through their respective borders. This could lead to less paperwork and shorter delays for applicants seeking admission based on Employment with a “Known Employer.”
DHS is hoping to launch the new program by the end of 2015, although no specific start date has been announced. The pilot would be jointly implemented by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. For further information regarding work visa applications or other immigration matters, please contact PricewaterhouseCoopers Immigration Law LLP.