Immigration advocates report that there has been an increase in raids of H-1B businesses by the Office of Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS). Employers are expressing alarm and confusion about what steps they should take. First of all, know that these raids are commonplace and not necessarily a cause for alarm. You can take steps to ensure the raids disrupt your workplace as little as possible.
If you are an employer, you should have your files accessible for all of your H-1B employees. The files should have the LCA, a note of when the LCA was posted, the current wage determination and a copy of the H-1B petition. All employers should be prepared for officers entering their premises to conduct a raid. They typically do not need a warrant and do not give prior notice. The inspecting officer may have a copy of the H-1B petition for reference. The officer will inspect the premises and request to speak to whomever signed the petition and he or she will interview the beneficiary. Questions asked may include details about the job description, employment dates, dependents, supervisory situations, colleagues, etc. Copies of the H-1B beneficiary’s W-2, pay records and the company’s quarterly wages, tax records and other documentation may be requested for examination.
If you are subject to a raid and inspection, you may call your attorney and request that they be present via the phone while the raid is occurring. Company employees should not hazard guesses and give any officials information about the H-1B petitions; it is better to say that the knowledgeable staff member is not on the premises than have incomplete information given to officials.
Get the name, title and all pertinent contact information of the site investigator. Take notes of questions asked and answered, and make sure there is a witness present for any interactions.
If the H-1B beneficiary is working at a client site, there should be immediate contact to inform the end user that there may be a site visit. The end user should know who is an H-1B employer and be made aware of the assignment terms. The end user may wish to have the employer or a representative present during any upcoming site visits.
If you have any concerns about impending site visits or H-1B employment status issues, please contact Houston immigration lawyer Annie Banerjee for more details.