On April 3, 2017, The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced multiple measures in an effort to deter and detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse. Starting this month, USCIS will focus on the following when making site visits to H-1B petitioners:
- Cases where USCIS cannot validate the employer’s basic business information through commercially available data;
- H-1B dependent employers (those who have a high ration 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 organizations’ location.
USCIS stated they want to focus resources where fraud and abuse of the H-1B program may be more likely to occur. The H-1B visa program recruits highly-skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country. USCIS believes too many American workers who deserve to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged. The Agency has stated that the 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. Since 2009, USCIS has conducted random site visits and referred many cases of suspected fraud or abuse to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for further investigation.