Recently, employers have reported that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has been making unannounced site visits in connection with H-1B petitions for employees. The USCIS’ Fraud Detection and National Security Office is tasked with carrying out these site visits.
USCIS has indicated that the purpose of these visits is to confirm that the employer indeed filed the petition (and it was not filed fraudulently by a third party using company information) and that information provided by an employer in the petition is accurate. Examples of such information include the work address, number of employees, wage of the H-1B beneficiary, the job duties that the employee will perform, and that the employee is qualified for the position. Employers who have received site visits indicate that the investigators have asked to speak with a company representative and may ask to speak with the H-1B employee as well.
Employers should ensure that all of the information provided to USCIS in connection with an H-1B petition is accurate and, if the employer is given advance notice of the visit, the employer should immediately contact counsel. The information obtained through site visits could be used as a basis to deny the petition or revoke previously approved petitions if the government finds the employer to have violated the basis on which the petition was approved. Furthermore, adverse information could also be shared with the enforcement arm of the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and could expose the employer to possible civil and criminal penalties as well.