We would like to share another successful case of our firm with you today. Our client was holding an H-1B visa and received a Request for Evidence Notice (RFE) from USCIS when applying for an extension. USCIS pointed out that the client never worked in Findream LLC, but stated that Findream employed her during her OPT period. That was a false statement to the U.S. government, and the USCIS requested more evidence to prove her employment with Findream.
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a temporary work authorization issued to F-1 students. While a job offer is not required to apply for OPT, the student may not have a cumulative total of 90 days of unemployment during the 12-month OPT period. Otherwise, they fall out of status and no longer qualify for a change or extension of status.
However, some students could not secure a job within the provided period, so they find a company that provides them an offer letter but does not work for them. The students submit the offer letter to the school's International Students Office, or to SEVP portal to update their employment records. Such action violates the immigration law and may harm their future immigration applications, including change of status, adjustment of status in the U.S., or applying for a visa through consulate processing.
Now let's look at the reasons provided in the RFE letter issued to the client in this case. The USCIS provided a detailed description of Findream, LLC (Findream) in the RFE letter. Findream was founded in 2013. In March 2019, the United States filed a criminal complaint against the owner of Findream. In the past five years, Findream received money from international students, permitted them to list the company as their employer, and provided them with false job offers and supporting documents, including false payroll documents and tax forms.
Findream's employer, Kelly Huang, in addition to founding Findream, also founded Sinocontech, LLC (Sinocontech). The companies she founded "employed" more international students than Facebook, IBM, Apple, and other big tech companies.
Other than Findream, there are other known fraudulent companies that are on the U.S government's watch list, including the following:
In the RFE letter, USCIS alleged that the client made a material misrepresentation to the U.S. government by listing Findream as her employer for a year during their OPT period, and this could result in inadmissibility finding under the INA $212(a)(6)(c)(i) code for fraud/misrepresentation. For this reason, USCIS may deny the H-1B visa extension application.
However, by issuing an RFE letter, the USCIS was giving the applicant a chance to provide evidence that she did work at the company. If she did, she should submit a statement that explains whether she was employed at Findream, her supervisor's name, job responsibilities, work address, projects she worked on, and any other factors that USCIS should consider in its exercise of discretion. In addition to the statement, the USCIS also recommended the supporting documents the client should provide, including her work products, pay stubs, Form W-2, Forms 1099, original tax returns transcripts, etc.
There are two main considerations. First, if the client had never worked at Findream, she would not be able to provide any supporting documents requested by USCIS. Second, the client listed Findream as the employer for almost a year. Even if the client could prove that she did not intentionally provide fraudulent information to the USCIS, her unemployed duration had exceeded the unemployment grace period (90 days) permitted under OPT.
Considering the seriousness of the matter, the client contacted the Law Offices of Sabrina Li and hired us immediately. In response to the RFE letter, we prepared and submitted the relevant materials and a legal brief for the client, and the client's H-1B extension application was finally approved.
If you, or somebody you know, find yourselves in a similar situation, and you need immediate assistance, our offices are here to help.