H-1B raids increase

Office of Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS)is conducting raids to H-1B business in an effort to detect and deter immigration fraud. The following blog is borrowed from an article by American Immigration Lawyer’s Program, and is meant to advise employers as to what to expect.

Employers should right now have the public access files for their H-1B employees ready. This file should contain the wage determination, the LCA, and a note on when the LCA was posted. It should also contain a copy of the H-1B petition.

The Government raids are conducted without warrants, and without prior notice. The Officer usually carries a copy of the H-1B petition. The officer then inspects the premises (and can take pictures). They will request to speak to the person signing the petition, but since the visits are unannounced, the officers are fine if the person who signed is unavailable. They may ask for copies of the beneficiary’s pay records, W-2 and also the employer’s tax records, quarterly wages, etc to prove that business is being conducted.

Then they also interview the beneficiary. They may ask details about the job description, employment dates, position, dependents etc. After this they might also want to speak with the beneficiary’s supervisor or colleague.

Here are some suggestions from AILA if the Government shows up:

1. Call your attorney, they can be present over the phone while the raids are being conducted.

2. If there is no designated official in the Company at that time, who is knowledgeable about the petitions, the officials should be told about that. Company Employees should not guess and say answers if they don’t know about the petition. Also if your company has strict policies against photographing, etc, please advise the officials accordingly.

2. File amended petitions, LCAs as necessary to keep files updated with changing situations. Wrong information could lead to a denial of the H-1B, even though the initial adjudication was an approval.

3. Request the name, title, and contact information for the site investigator. Ask for a business card and phone number. Multiple agencies are doing these visits, and it is important to determine which one is doing the site visit.

4. Don’t speak to the investigator without a witness present. Make notes of what transpired as soon as the meeting ends. Keep a list of all documents submitted.

5 If the beneficiary has been placed at a client site not controlled by the client, the client should notify the end user about the current FDNS H-1B assessment program and the possibility of a site visit. If there are multiple companies between the H-1B employer and the end user, the end user should be made aware of the identity of the H-1B employer and review the terms of the assignment. The employer should request that the end user company contact the employer at the beginning of an FDNS site visit so that the employer and/or its representative may be present either in person or by telephone during the site visit at the end user’s location.

Vermont Service Center has sent about 20,000 companies to be audited, and California would also send about the same.

Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, Annie Banerjee for more details