H- 1B Visa Compliance Review: USCIS Site Visits

H-1B visas allow foreign workers the opportunity to work for companies in need of specialized labor. The petitioners at the time of filing the H-1B petition agree to comply, and are subject to, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) fraud investigations. During a USCIS compliance review, a Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) officer can conduct a site visit at worksite listed on the H-1B petition.

For Employers

USCIS visits are unannounced. FDNS officers report to the company address listed on the H-1B petition, and ask to speak with the H-1B employer and employee. If employers have more than one H-1B employee, then it is likely that the company will receive more than one visit from a FDNS. After the visit, an FDNS officer may contact the employer for further information regarding the case.

For Employees

During the unannounced visit, employers will notify the H-1B visa beneficiaries before meeting with the FDNS officer. Compliance with the onsite visit is not mandatory, but strongly suggested. Officers will ask to see proof of identification and may request the employee’s most recent pay stub. The FDNS investigator will ask a series of questions like:

  • How long have you ben working in your field?
  • How many hours do you work a week?
  • What are your responsibilities at the company?

FDNS may also interview the employee’s coworkers/supervisor and may take photographs of the job site.

Shifted Focus with New Executive Order

Following the April executive order “Buy American, Hire American: Put Americans First”, USCIS released new guidelines for onsite visits. Previously, H-1B petitioners were randomly selected for compliance reviews. Currently, USCIS has shifted towards “targeted site visits” that focus on worksites that have “negatively affected” U.S. jobs. Specifically, companies with a high concentration of H-1B workers (or more H-1B workers than U.S. employees), consulting companies, and unverifiable companies are of special interest. USCIS hopes the new guidelines will prevent companies from denying U.S. workers access to specialized job markets and would deter H-1B visa fraud and abuse.

With the Trump Administration’s focus on enforcement, the employers must make sure to remain compliant with the rules governing H-1B program.  We at Sharma Law Offices, LLC can help you ensure legal compliance from start to finish when it comes to employing H-1B employees.