The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 3, 2017 that there will be a stricter evaluation process for H-1B applications to further deter and detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse. According to USCIS, the H-1B visa program was created to help U.S. companies recruit highly-skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country. However, again, according to the agency, too many American workers who are just as qualified, willing, and deserving to work in these fields are ignored or unfairly disadvantaged. Therefore, the agency is creating avenues for Americans to report abuse and fraud of the program to ensure fairness. Since then, USCIS has taken a more targeted approach when making site visits across the country to H-1B petitioners and worksites of H-1B employees. USCIS has focused on the following three points:
- 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 compared to U.S. workers; and
- Employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company or organization’s location.
These targeted site visits will allow USCIS to focus resources in places where fraud and abuse of the system is more likely to occur and determine whether H-1B dependent employers are evading their obligation to make a good faith effort to recruit U.S. workers. These site visits are not meant to target nonimmigrant employees for any kind of criminal or administration action, but rather to identify employers who are abusing the system. In cases where further investigations are needed, USCIS will refer the case to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Additionally, individuals can report allegations by submitting a Form WH-4 to the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division or by completing ICE’s HIS Tip Form. USCIS also established an email address where both American and H-1B workers who suspect they or others may be the victim of H-1B fraud or abuse can submit tips, alleged violations, and other relevant information about potential H-1B fraud or abuse. Please click here to learn more about the H-1B employment visa or what to do when ICE visits.
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