The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), on Monday announced multiple measures which it says are to further deter and detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse.
Beginning Monday, USCIS says it will take a more targeted approach when making site visits across the country to H-1B petitioners and the worksites of H-1B employees. The agency 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 U.S. workers, as defined by statute); and
- Employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company or organization’s location.
“The H-1B visa program should help U.S. companies recruit highly-skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country,” said USCIS in a statement. “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.”
According to USCIS, targeted site visits will allow it 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 U.S. workers.
The agency says it will continue random and unannounced visits nationwide, although it is quick to emphasize that 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.