Xterra lawsuit.

Praharsh Chandra Sai Venkata Anisetty, who obtained both his undergraduate and graduate degrees in electronics and engineering from the University of Texas, Dallas, was nevertheless denied an H-1B visa. (angel.co photo)

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Xterra Solutions, based in this city’s emerging tech hub, is suing the Department of Homeland Services and its division, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, for denying an H-1B visa to one of its allegedly fully-qualified employee from India.

In its lawsuit, filed in Northern California District Court, Xterra Solutions said USCIS in February had denied an H-1B to Praharsh Chandra Sai Venkata Anisetty, 28, who has been with the company for three years.

Anisetty holds a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering as well as an MS degree in information technology and management from the University of Texas at Dallas. He is currently in H-4 dependent status through his wife, who has an H-1B visa and is on track for a green card.

Xterra had hired Anisetty as a business systems analyst.

The visa denial was “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and not in accordance with the law,” claimed Xterra Solutions in its lawsuit.

The company, founded in 2009, has made only two previous H-1B applications, in 2017 and 2018. Both were approved.

Business Standard, which first reported the story, noted that the Donald Trump government has been targeting firms such as Xterra and several other Indian IT services firms that fall into a class of H-1B employers, and increased its scrutiny of H-1B applications from such firms. It has boosted the rate at which it denies them visas in a bid to cut down on immigration and focus on local job creation, said the report.

“The denial is not supported by substantial evidence in the record, is contrary to established legal precedent, and is arbitrary, capricious and constitutes a clear abuse of discretion,” the company alleged, urging the district court to set aside the USCIS order.

After filing his application, Anisetty received a “request for evidence,” requiring additional documentation to prove he was eligible for an H-1B visa.

“Xterra submitted an extremely detailed statement of Mr Anisetty’s job duties, which clearly explained the specialized and complex nature of the Business Systems Analyst occupation,” the suit said. “(The agency) erroneously stated in its denial that the record contains insufficient information to establish the specialized and complex nature of the proffered position.”

This is not the first time that the USCIS has come under fire. Last October, a U.S.-based IT advocacy group representing over 1,000 small IT companies, mostly run by Indian Americans, had sued it for issuing H-1B visas for shorter than three-year durations.

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