USCIS Increases Surveillance of H-1B employers in the USA USCIS Increases Surveillance of H-1B employers in the USA

by admin on April 20, 2011

Companies that apply for H-1B visas for their employees in the U.S. should soon expect increased scrutiny and auditing upon filing petitions. The Associate Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Donald Neufeld, provided testimony to a Congressional committee that H-1B employers are soon to be the object of more in-depth inspections performed by the federal government.

The increasing intensity of investigations stems from a report from the Department of Homeland Security, stating that the immigration system in the United States is being abused, particularly in reference to non immigrant visas, and could potentially be used as a method of threatening the security of the U.S.

Neufeld stated that USCIS has found that around one out of every eight entities or persons submitting an H-1B petition is suspicious enough to require follow-up investigation. The USCIS has also reported that the immigration system provides loopholes for potential human and narcotics trafficking to occur.

All H-1B petitions are carefully screened to analyze the potential for fraud, using certain indicators developed by USCIS (which have not been made public). Under the Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program, offices and company plants may be subject to unannounced inspection visits, particularly if indicators of fraud are determined to be present.

Audits of office places and other work sites have been more prevalent in recent years for companies or other entities that file any type of non-immigrant visa petitions, including the L-1 visa and H-1B visa categories. USCIS has created a list of standard questions to ask during site visits, and if inspectors can not verify the information provided on the petition another review by an adjudicator may be required. Another potential consequence includes USCIS issuing a Notice of Intent to Revoke.

Neufeld stated that:

In Fiscal Year 2010, USCIS conducted 14,433 H-1B [Administrative Site Visit and Verification Programme] site inspections. Of those petitions subject to an ASVVP inspection, 14 percent were “not verified,” resulting in referrals to adjudicators or [Fraud Detection and National Security] for further inquiries. Of those petitions that were “not verified,” 11 percent were reviewed by adjudicators and reaffirmed with an approval, and 46 percent were referred to [Fraud Detection and National Security] for further fraud inquiries or revoked by adjudicators. The remaining “not verified” cases are still pending review by adjudicators or [ Fraud Detection and National Security].

Neufeld also mentioned in his statement that the USCIS is now working to prepare a report on H-1B fraud. It is expected that USCIS will find that fraud is still widespread within the H-1B program, even if the rate of fraud might have decreased due to heightened requirements and inspections. USCIS intends to determine a current fraud rate to base future assessments on.

Another aspect that a potential petitioning company should be aware of is that the information submitted on application forms is thoroughly checked, and includes referencing material available on public databases. Information on social networking sites, such as Facebook, is also checked for verification.

The USCIS has begun using an online system called VIBE, which stands for the Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises. This online system collects commercially available data, including the type of business, credit information, trade payment, business activity, listed international workforce and reported sales volume, ownership and legal status, date of establishment, company address and any global affiliates. VIBE is reported to tap into databases accessed by the Department of Homeland Security and a variety of other online databases.

For information on how to apply for an H-1B visa for a Thai citizen, it would be best to contact a Thailand lawyer.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sam Martin April 25, 2011 at 6:31 am

Thanks for sharing your insights always with everyone through your blog site.Keep posting such interesting posts always.It was very helpful to me.

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