Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta has announced plans to more aggressively address fraud and abuse in nonimmigrant visa programs, including plans to direct the agency to conduct more investigations and to make changes to the Labor Condition Application.

Acosta signaled his intentions in a statement last week, a little more than two months after U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced plans to target certain H-1B employers for site visits. The calls for increased investigations reflect President Donald Trump’s overall efforts to crack down on visa program abuses that he says undercut American workers. Acosta said the Labor Department will:

  • Conduct more investigations. The department’s Wage and Hour Division will use “all its tools” to enforce labor protections provided for in the U.S.’s nonimmigrant visa programs, including but not limited to the H-1B, H-1B1 and E-3 programs.
  • Develop changes to the Labor Condition Application. The department’s Employment and Training Administration will propose changes to the application, which must be filed by employers on behalf of workers seeking certain nonimmigrant visas. The department indicated that its intention is to produce a form that will help identify potential violations and fraud.
  • Increase coordination within the department. Acosta said the Wage and Hour Division, Employment and Training Administration and the Office of the Solicitor will work together to enforce visa program rules and make criminal referrals when necessary to the Office of the Inspector General. The department will also set up a working group to supervise and coordinate enforcement to avoid duplication.

BAL Analysis: The Labor Department’s stated intentions to increase investigations of visa-related abuse is consistent with the Trump administration’s stance toward the U.S.’s visa programs, including the H-1B program. Employers should be prepared for an increase in site visits and should be sure to take steps to remain in compliance with visa program rules and regulations, including those enforced by the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division. Those with questions about remaining in compliance should contact BAL.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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