I am working as Lead at a client site. I have a team member who reports to me. He is from a contractor from our company vendor. I consider him a good team member:

  • He has good technical knowledge and he is ideal candidate for the role. The interview panel liked him from the start.
  • He meets all my (and project) expectations.
  • He takes good care of the project; he professionally escalates if he has any concern or problem.
  • His attitude is professional and he took the extra mile many times when this was required for the project.
  • His behavior and communication are professional. He never breaks or misuses my trust.

However, a couple of weeks after he joined I asked about his visa status when I met him informally. He said it was approved.

Recently he approached me and asked my help for a client letter to address a query on his visa processing. I am in a position to arrange that letter from the client for him. He apologized for conveying wrong information earlier. And he explained to me that he was thinking that I am asking about his extension which is approved. And also he thought that the vendor might have updated all the information.

The below are some facts about the incident

  • Initially he told that his Visa status is approved, it is with current employer and it is valid till 2016.
  • He is now saying he got RFE on his Visa and request for client letter.
  • Based on the process flow published in USCIS website(https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/Dashboard/CaseStatus.do) there is no chance to get RFE after H1B Visa got approved.
  • I am also living in USA on H1B VISA. And I have decent knowledge about H1B process. As per me USCIS never issues H1B after approving H1B.
  • When I raise this question he says that his extension was approved and the transfer of VISA to current employer is still in process. And apologized not clear on this for first time

Based on that I think he is lied to me. But I don’t know now how to react to his request.If he has lied I am not sure under what circumstances he lied to me.

Do I address his request and issue the letter or not?If he has lied how can I trust him further? I am unable to decide right course of action at this juncture. Hence my question would be

What is the reasonable course of action I should go for?

closed as off-topic by Jim G., The Wandering Dev Manager, Dawny33, gnat, HorusKol Feb 1 '16 at 0:01

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  • 4
    Why do you believe he lied? I've been doing the work VISA dance for half my life, and it still confuses me from time to time. – HopelessN00b Apr 18 '14 at 2:55
  • @HopelessN00b, USCIS doesn't issue RFE on approved visas. He has first said approved and then said it is on RFE and needs client letter for that. – Babu Apr 18 '14 at 3:11
  • Doesn't responsibility for his visa fall under the vendor's (his actual employer) purview? – Rus925 Apr 18 '14 at 3:17
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    @Rus925, Yes it is his actual employers responsibility.But he needs client letter to address RFE hence he asked my help. – Babu Apr 18 '14 at 3:32
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    " I have a team member who ... is good in my books" -> "I believe he has lied to me for some reason which I don’t know." -> "if I bring this higher management about his lie, it will impact him badly." If you like the guy, but assume he's lying, and are willing to throw him under the bus as a result, I suggest you do better than "believe he has lied to me for some reason which I don’t know". I cannot imagine being willing to threaten someone's job without being able to explain why you are doing it or being able to prove that the why is even a valid reason. – jmac Apr 18 '14 at 10:37

Well, first of all, it's not entirely clear that he did lie to you. So I certainly wouldn't come out and say that he lied until you have all the facts in. Secondly, just write the letter.

You like the guy, he does good work, and frankly, the only thing you have to support your suspicion that he's lying to you is that you don't understand the bureaucratic process around visas and immigration in this country. For that matter, neither do most of the people going through it, or most of the people executing it. I was told 17 years ago that I would have a Green Card in 5 years. And every year since 12 years ago, I was told I would have it "next year." I'm still on a work visa. And am still being told to expect my Green Card in November. (I expect that come November, I'll hear "next year" again.) But while I still believed what I was told, I passed that information along when it was requested of me. "Yeah, I'll have a green card by [date]." Does that make me a liar? What about your guy? Do you somehow know he's not just telling you what he's been told by whichever USCIS agent he last talked to?

From the comments, you state that he said his visa is valid, but also that it's in an "RFE" state. While you take this to mean deception, it's actually commonplace for both these statements to be true. After issuing a work visa, the government will often review the applicant and/or their work to ensure that they are actually in compliance with the terms of the visa - usually it's around the type of work that they're doing, with the intent of ensuring that a visa holder actually is doing the skilled, technical work stated, and not actually filling a job that does not qualify for a work visa. Though, technically this can happen at any time during the length of the visa, it tends to happen more toward the beginning.

And for H1-B visa holders in particular, there is a possibility of transitioning the work visa to a permanent residency status (more commonly known as a "Green Card"), and in order to transition, the visa holder's validity and compliance have to be verified (or re-verified). Raising the other possibility that his H1-B is valid, but is being evaluated for transition to a Green Card, or (less favorably for the visa holder) even for a simple extension or renewal.

Furthermore, this guy's visa status really isn't your business. If he's violating his visa, that's on him, and the company that actually employs him. Not on you, or your company. So... why do you care? What good could come out of sticking your nose into someone else's business that doesn't concern you? Best case, nothing comes of it... and you gain nothing. Worst case, it's gonna blowback on you. Think about it for a minute. You accuse the guy of lying, or turn down this simple request, you're going to damage the relationship between your company and your vendor. And based on what evidence? I'm no manager, but I suspect your manager might have a fairly strong feelings about those consequences.

The guy wants a letter to present to USCIS to confirm the work he's done for you, the very work his visa is predicated on. This is a common requirement for visa holders, and anyone else who has dealings with government bureaucracies. Write the letter, honestly, and don't go about assuming the worst and jump to conclusions about the whims and requirements of massive bureaucracies.

  • Minor note that's bugging me: it's visa, not VISA. VISA is the credit card before it rebranded to Visa. – Rus925 Apr 18 '14 at 7:59
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    That's what the edit feature is for @Rus! Feel free to fix those VISAs with extreme prejudice. I'm sure Hopeless will appreciate it since he won't have to do it himself! – jmac Apr 18 '14 at 10:32
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    @BVR Since you're determined to believe this guy lied to you, fine, for the sake of argument, say that he did. So what? What does it matter if he did, and why do care? I can see nothing in what you've posted to indicated that it would have any impact on you, or that there's any reason at all for you to care, even it was a lie. So... why do you care? Just let it go and get on with your job. – HopelessN00b Apr 18 '14 at 17:33
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    @BVR Alright. So could anyone, though. Reads to me like you have trust issues and you're projecting them onto others for no good reason. I'd work on that, as it will be a serious liability in the future, if it isn't already. – HopelessN00b Apr 18 '14 at 19:02
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    @BVR - And left your comment trail here. You have 2 questions. How do you deal with a subordinate who may have deceived you, and how should you handle the request for the RFE. Stop conflating the 2. The how should you deal with the request is a decent enough question. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 19 '14 at 1:03

You have not proven that he was lying. However, by confronting him about this when he asked for the RFE letter, you have already accused him of it. Moreover, you're holding his RFE letter request. You probably don't realize it, but you are taking an employee who, by your own account, is excellent, incredibly valuable to you and your team, and demoralizing him and generally eroding your relationship, not only with him but also his company. And it gets worse every day you delay the RFE letter. That's a poor, unprofessional decision to begin with.

Arranging to provide an RFE letter is vastly different than arranging a recommendation letter, though you seem to be treating them the same way: you do not simply withhold a letter confirming employment because you didn't like the guy. The best analog I can think of would be a college withholding a student's transcript due to an allegation of vandalism: while the school may eventually take adverse action against the student due to the vandalism, the transcript—the student's course grades—have nothing to do with that. Holding the transcript is unjustified; if the requestor later seeks a recommendation, that may be a forum in which the vandalism charge becomes relevant. Arrange for the RFE letter immediately and apologize for the delay. You can (and should) give him the RFE letter even if you end up firing him the next day.

I also wouldn't bother asking the "expatriate community" about this; they don't know every possible outcome. If you care this much, you can ask an experienced immigration attorney, but keep in mind that, while your interpretation of what he said may be inconsistent, what he actually tried to tell you may not have been.

While you're talking to an immigration attorney, you may also want to ask about immigration anti-discrimination rules. Basically, the only thing that can matter to an employer is whether the employee is currently eligible to work.

Stepping back, though, even if he had lied, he did not volunteer a lie to you: he gave you an answer to an inappropriate question, and may very well have felt like he would be unfairly retaliated against had he not. Most importantly, though, you're destroying your work relationship and losing from the other end the very team value you're fighting to protect from this end.

  • @Rus925, Thank you for your suggestion. Your answer also helping me a lot. – Babu Apr 19 '14 at 1:00

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