The H-1B visa program allows American companies to hire foreign workers with specialized skills in a variety of occupations that suffer from a shortage of qualified workers. However, according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), over-reliance on this program has led to depressed wages and reduced opportunity for American workers. As a remedy, the department recently announced an increase in immigration law enforcement to detect and deter fraud and abuse.
On April 3, 2017, USCIS announced that it would begin targeting their unannounced site visits, focusing closely on employers who:
- Have basic business information the administration cannot validate through commercially available data.
- Maintain a high ratio of H-1B workers to U.S. employees, as calculated according to federal statute.
- Typically work off-site at the location of other companies or organizations.
By targeting their site visits, USCIS hopes to concentrate their immigration law enforcement resources on those employers who they deem most likely to participate in fraud or abuse of the system. Companies who have not made good-faith efforts to identify American workers before applying for H-1B status for foreign workers may be referred to law enforcement for prosecution.
When announcing these new enforcement efforts, USCIS stressed that their random job site inspections are not intended to target H-1B workers themselves but are focused on identifying employers who abuse the system. In fact, visa-holding employees who suspect that their employers are committing fraud or violating their rights are encouraged to send tips or other relevant information to the agency through a dedicated email address.
As one of New York City's most respected immigration attorneys, Berd & Klauss, PLLC are dedicated to providing comprehensive services based on the most recent updates to the law. Follow their Facebook for more immigration law updates, and visit their website or call (212) 461-7152 to schedule a consultation with an H-1B lawyer today.