U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced plans Monday to target certain H-1B employers for site visits and to encourage people to report suspected fraud or abuse in the H-1B program.

USCIS stated that starting this month, the agency will “take a more targeted approach” to administrative site visits and focus on:

  • H-1B dependent employers.
  • Cases where the agency cannot validate the employer’s basic business information through commercially available data.
  • Employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company’s or organization’s location.

According to the announcement, these targeted site visits will help the agency determine whether H-1B dependent employers are paying their H-1B employees the required wage to render them exempt from recruitment attestation requirements. Unannounced and random site visits that were already taking place for all H-1B employers will also continue.

To encourage reports of fraud or abuse in the H-1B program, USCIS has established an email address to receive information, ReportH1BAbuse@uscis.dhs.gov, and provides links to the Labor Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement forms for reporting fraud and abuse. The USCIS announcement provides several examples of “H-1B fraud and abuse indicators,” such as wage disparities between H-1B workers and other workers performing the same or similar duties, and H-1B workers not performing duties specified in the H-1B petition.

USCIS also announced plans to publish a report on the H-1B visa petitions submitted for fiscal year 2018 and “create a web-based, searchable platform for the public to better understand how H-1B visas are being used.”

More information can be found at the USCIS website.

BAL Analysis: This set of initiatives follows Friday’s policy memorandum narrowing eligibility for H-1B status for computer programmers, and signals that the administration is focused on addressing perceived abuses in high-skilled visa categories. H-1B employers who fall into the categories described by USCIS should expect to be subject to additional administrative site visits, and should contact their BAL professional with any questions. BAL will continue to monitor implementation of these initiatives and provide updates on new developments.

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

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