Archive

Posts Tagged ‘H-1B Fraud’

USCIS Announces Further Measures to Detect H-1B Visa Fraud and Abuse

April 6, 2017 Leave a comment
On April 3, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced multiple measures to further deter and detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse.  The press release states that 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. 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 April 3, 2017, USCIS will take a more targeted approach when making site visits 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 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 press release further states that 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 U.S. workers.  USCIS will continue random and unannounced visits nationwide. The press release states 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.

State Dept. Report Highlights Fraud Statistics from US Consulates in India

July 24, 2011 Leave a comment

A report from the U.S. Department of State sheds light into the fraudulent activities by applicants at U.S. Consulates in India.  Key statistics from Fiscal Year 2008:

Total Non-Immigrant Visa Applications: In excess of 756,000

States with more fraudulent cases than others: Gujarat and Punjab

Total Non-Immigrant Fraud cases: 3596 (Chennai: 1237, Mumbai: 809, Hyderabad: 523, Kolkata: 78, and New Delhi: 949)

Chennai and Hyderabad Consulate Fraud cases: Primarily from Andhra Pradesh.

B1/B2: Peak region with most fraudulent documents – Hyderabad (Documents include false passport copies of relatives, fake document packages, bogus financial documents, and affidavits of support).

H-1B Fraud: Of the 150 companies investigated, 77% of them turned out to be fraudulent or highly suspect.

F-1 visas: Even legitimate F-1 applicants are drawn into “visa agencies” duping them with preparation of false financial documents among other papers.

House Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on H-1B Visa Program

March 31, 2011 Leave a comment

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee holds hearing on H-1B visa program.  The hearing is focussed on designing an H-1B visa program that meets the needs of U.S. economy and U.S. workers.  The hearing began with an opening statement by the Committee’s Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX).  There were views and arguments presented by proponents and opponents of H-1B visa program.  In the Committee Chairman Rep. Smith’s words, “The H-1B visa program plays a vital role in our economy.  It allows American employers to hire talented foreign students graduating from U.S. universities with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math fields…The 65,000 base annual quota of H-1B visas is going to come under more and more pressure as the economy improves.  If Congress doesn’t act to increase the H-1B cap, then we may need to examine what sort of workers qualify for H-1B visas.” However, Rep. Smith’s comments did not come without words of caution.  He highlighted the fraud and abuse in the H-1B program as well as abuse in the L-1 and B-1 visa programs and that necessary checks should be in place and also highlighted the importance of not displacing the American workers.

This is a good start of a healthy debate surrounding the H-1B visa program to address issues such as disadvantages of having a numerical cap each year especially when the U.S. economy needs more qualified foreign professionals; addressing the fraud in the H-1B system; and more importantly ensuring that the H-1B adjudication process is fair and reasonable as opposed to being arbitrary and burdensome.  More updates on this will be posted as and when they become available.  Rep. Smith’s statement may be accessed by clicking http://judiciary.house.gov/news/03312011.html

H-1B Cap-Subject Filings Begin April 1, 2011

March 18, 2011 Leave a comment

This year’s H-1B filings begin April 1, 2011 (for Fiscal Year 2012).  Even though the filings begin April 1, the H-1B individuals might not be able to arrive in the United States until late 2011 (Sep/Oct) or early 2012 to work for you (given the delays at consulates).  Thursday, March 31, 2011 is the date that H-1B cases could first be shipped to USCIS (for April 1 delivery) with an employment start date of October 1, 2011.  Just as last year, the Labor Condition Application (“LCA”) which is required as part of filing of an H-1B petition, is actually taking up to 7 days to be certified.  Regular H-1B quota is 58,200, not 65,000.  This is because 6,800 out of 65,000 are allotted for Chile and Singapore although any unused Singapore/Chile visa numbers from previous fiscal year will be added to the current year’s cap.  In addition, there will be 20,000 H-1B visas available for potential employees who have earned a U.S. masters or a higher degree.

H-1B Quota is Still Open But Use Caution When Filing H-1B Petitions

November 5, 2010 Leave a comment

The H-1B quota is still open and does not appear to reach the cap in at least the next two months.  However, employers should use great caution in filing an H-1B petition.  It is highly recommended to file an H-1B only when there appears to be an absolute need for the services of a foreign national.  In the absence of such a need, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is likely to regard the H-1B filing as “speculative” and could deny the petition.  Employers should be prepared to demonstrate with evidence the need for the services of a potential foreign national employee to its organization.  In this regard, please refer to an earlier blog post

https://krishnapalagummi.wordpress.com/2009/11/26/h-1b-speculative-employment-dont-file/

H-1B Dependent Employers: If you are an H-1B dependent employer within the definition of the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s regulations, you must make good faith efforts to find an able, willing, and qualified U.S. worker to fill the position before offering the position to a foreign national.  However, dependent employers desiring to hire foreign nationals with at least – 1) Master’s degree, or 2) offered salary of at least $60,000 – may simply file the H-1B petition as soon as the need arises.    It is important to confer with an attorney to understand the legal requirements and to ensure full compliance.

U.S. Immigration Policies Hurting Companies and People

January 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Between the ridiculous RFEs asking, among other things, zonal and fire dept. permits for IT consulting companies, work orders for three years, 221g’s at the consulates and the so-called “administrative processing” of cases for several months at consular posts in India, the apparent CBP excesses at the ports of entry (for example Newark), the apparent revision of H-1B forms requiring employee attestations, the Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program (ASVVP) aka anti-fraud visits, the Verification Initiative for Business Enterprises (VIBE) background  checks, and now the Neufeld guidance on H-1B adjudications, the USCIS is, in essence exterminating businesses dependent on H-1B visas.

The worst effected are small to mid-size companies in the U.S.  From an employer standpoint, after clearing all the above hurdles, there is no guarantee that an employee will make it beyond the airport.   And for those H-1B workers who are already in the U.S. with their families, if an H-1B extension is denied for some absurd reason, that pretty much leaves them with no option but to leave the U.S., inspite of the fact that there may be children in the middle of a school year, a pregnant spouse, or a treatment-undergoing child for some ailment.  If anybody at the USCIS is listening – THESE ARE REAL PEOPLE, REAL LIVES.  DON’T TREAT THEM AS JUST FILES!

USCIS to Significantly Increase Employer Site Visits

January 19, 2010 Leave a comment

As part of its H-1B “anti-fraud” initiatives, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) conducted 5,191 site visits the previous fiscal year.  In a recent letter to Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the USCIS informed that in the current fiscal year (October 1, 2009-September 30, 2010), there will be 25,000 H-1B employer site visits.  The letter further states that the fraud investigation officers will make surprise visits to H-1B employers’ offices and/or even client locations where an H-1B employee is stationed.  Based on the experience of several H-1B employers, it is evident that the officers typically ask questions about the H-1B petition, salary information, ask to see actual work station of the employee, job title and functions, supervising person’s information, if employee is available, interview the employee, and ask to take photographs of inside and outside of the work location or employer’s offices.  It is suggested that employers cooperate with the investigating officers in a reasonable manner. 

The said letter to the Senator also refers to the fact that USCIS contracted with Dunn & Bradstreet as independent information provider.  D&B will provide information the adjudicating officers seek in relation to adjudicating H-1B petitions.  It might also include L-1 and other employment-based petitions although the letter does not specifically address the L-1 category.  The officers will primarily access D&B and other commercially available resources in performing background checks on the employers, including but not limited to, financial viability of employers, number of employees, and other pertinent information.  

At this time, it is prudent for employers sponsoring work visas to obtain a copy of the D&B report to ensure that the information contained in the report reflects the accurate information about their companies. 

%d bloggers like this: