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USCIS Announces Crack Down on H-1B Visa Fraud, Abuse

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced it’s implementing “multiple measures to further deter and detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse.”

USCIS in a 2008 audit found intentional fraud or technical violations in almost 21 percent of H-1B visas applications the agency reviewed.

USCIS said, “The H-1B visa program should help US companies recruit highly-skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country, yet, too many American workers who are as qualified, willing and deserving to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged. Protecting American workers by combating fraud in our employment-based immigration programs is a priority for USCIS.”

Beginning immediately, USCIS said it “will take a more targeted approach when making sitevisits across the country to H-1B petitioners and the worksites of H-1B employees.”

USCIS will focus on:

Cases where USCIS cannot validate the employer’s basic business information through commercially available data;
H-1B-dependent employers (those who have a high ratio of H-1B workers as compared to US workers, as defined by statute); and
Employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company or organization’s location.

“Targeted site visits will allow USCIS to focus resources where fraud and abuse of the H-1B program may be more likely to occur, and determine whether H-1B dependent employers are evading their obligation to make a good faith effort to recruit US workers,” the agency said in its announcement, noting, “USCIS will continue random and unannounced visits nationwide. These site visits are not meant to target nonimmigrant employees for any kind of criminal or administrative action but rather to identify employers who are abusing the system.”

USCIS stressed that, “Employers who abuse the H-1B visa program negatively affect US workers, decreasing wages and job opportunities as they import more foreign workers. To further deter and detect abuse, USCIS has established an email address which will allow individuals (including both American workers and H-1B workers who suspect they or others may be the victim of H-1B fraud or abuse) to submit tips, alleged violations and other relevant information about potential H-1B fraud or abuse. Information submitted to the email address will be used for investigations and referrals to law enforcement agencies for potential prosecution.”

Since 2009, USCIS has conducted random administrative site visits to ensure employers and foreign workers are complying with requirements of the H-1B nonimmigrant classification. USCIS refers many cases of suspected fraud or abuse to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for further investigation.

USCIS said individuals can report allegations of employer fraud or abuse by submitting Form WH-4 to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division or by completing ICE’s HSI Tip Form.

For more information about the new H-1B visa fraud and abuse detection initiative, visit the Combating Fraud and Abuse in the H-1B Visa Program web page.

For information about H-1B petition requirements, visit the USCIS H-1B webpage.

 

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