USCIS to Increase Onsite Enforcement of H1B Visa Program04 Dec 2009
Plans are afoot at USCIS to sharply increase onsite inspections of companies that hire foreign workers through the H1B visa program, according to a recent article in Computerworld. [See Feds plan 25,000 on-site H1B inspections, by Patrick Thibodeau, Computerworld, Nov 17, 2009]. According to Computerworld, the USCIS expects to conduct 25,000 worksite inspections in the 2010 fiscal year that began on October 1, 2009, nearly five times the number that were carried out last year.
Explaining the agency’s new, hard-line approach to H1B violations, the article cites a recent USCIS study that uncovered fraud and other violations in one of every five H1B applications. The move also appears to have been prompted, in part, by Congressional inquiries about the agency’s efforts to root out fraud and other irregularities in the H1B programs. Computerworld quotes from a letter from USCIS Director, Alejandro Mayorkas, to U.S. Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), indicating that USCIS inspections will determine “whether the location of employment actually exists and if a beneficiary is employed at the location specified, performing the duties as described, and paid the salary as identified in the petition.”
According to the article, USCIS has contracted with Dun & Bradstreet to provide “independent information” that will be used to check information submitted by companies that participate in the H1B program.
The upshot is that companies using the H1B program will face greater scrutiny as more USCIS resources are focused on compliance. Now, more than ever, companies should redouble their efforts to remain in strict compliance with the H1B regulations. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and many users of the H1B program will find it worthwhile to perform internal audits that can turn up compliance problems so they can be remedied before they lead to problems. As always, the Murthy Law Firm stands ready to assist you with H1B compliance, whether you need a preventive audit or representation during an investigation.