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A Seattle architecture firm is suing the federal government for denying a work visa to one of its employees, an increasingly common practice that has the tech industry reeling.

When MG2 promoted an IT manager named Bharath Raj Kumanan, the company applied to renew his H-1B visa, the type tech companies often use to bring international talent to the United States. The renewal was denied even though Kumanan was promoted to a role requiring a greater level of skill, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle.

Kumanan was awarded an H-1B visa in 2015 to work as a database manager for MG2. His role included “major IT projects that are critical to MG2’s architectural business operations,” according to the complaint. It goes on to say that in November, when MG2 tried to promote Kumanan to the higher level role of Database Solution Delivery Manager, the company’s petition for an extension of the H-1B visa was denied.

“That arbitrary, capricious, and erroneous decision is the basis for this lawsuit,” the complaint says.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said that Kumanan’s new role didn’t qualify as a specialty occupation, which is necessary to obtain an H-1B visa, according to the complaint.

USCIS declined to comment on the lawsuit because it is pending. MG2 did not respond to GeekWire’s interview requests.

Kumanan’s story reflects broader trends in the legal immigration system. Under President Donald Trump, USCIS is denying legal immigration applications at a rate 37 percent higher than the previous administration.

In addition to the spike in denials, the federal government is rolling out a series of policy changes that curb the legal immigration system in response to Trump’s Buy American, Hire American executive order signed in 2017.

Read the full complaint filed by MG2 below.

MG2 v. USCIS by on Scribd

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