US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is preparing to double physical inspections on job-locations of H-1B and L-1 beneficiaries in FY 2018. The enhanced verification is being put in place due to recommendations from the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General saying that USCIS “provides minimal assurance that H-1B visa participants are compliant and not engaged in fraudulent activity,” Society For Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported.
As per the write-up, Elizabeth Stern, who is a partner in Mayer Brown’s DC office, said an audit by Inspector General revealed that USCIS’s Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program (ASVVP) and other channels that conducted targeted inspection have had several shortcomings.
“The report concluded that USCIS’ ASVVP program had multiple shortfalls related to the limited number of site visits conducted, a lack of training, and a failure by inspectors to take proper action in instances where noncompliance is detected,” said Stern, who also heads Mayer Brown’s Global Mobility and Migration practice. “The report further outlined a lack of agency tracking of [targeted site] visits, associated costs and outcomes.”
The audit concluded that USCIS could improve in several spheres including denying approvals to employers who have been identified as violators, sharing of information among regulatory agencies, and compiling and assessing performance metrics through site visits.
“The FY 2018 goal for site visits would be doubled from 10,000 to 20,000 with the addition of a revamped targeted site visit program that started as a pilot in April 2017,” SHRM reported. “USCIS considers the new program to be a hybrid of random compliance visits and for-cause visits based on detected fraud.”
Under the current administration, the immigration agency has specifically increased the site visits in cases where the agency is unable to verify employer’s information through commercially available data, or doubts that an employer is H-1B dependent, or where the workers work from a third-party location.