Recently we a posted a blog about President Trump's executive order titled "Buy American, Hire American." The executive order directs federal agencies to review the H-1B visa program and other US visas and to more strictly enforce the visa laws set in place to prevent fraud and abuse.
USCIS started the Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program in July 2009 as an additional way to verify information in certain visa petitions. Under this program, Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) officers make unannounced visits to collect information as part of a compliance review. FDNS typically conducts site visits that employ H-1B, L-1, and/or religious workers. Their primary focus is on H-1B dependent employers and employers that employ employees to work off-site. Under this executive order, we expect the number of site visits conducted to increase. However, there's no need for concern if the company is generally following the rules.
Here are some of the site inspector tasks:
- Verify the information, including supporting documents, submitted with the petition;
- Verify that the petitioning organization exists;
- Review public records and information on the petitioning organization;
- Conduct unannounced site visits to where the employee works;
- Take photographs;
- Review documents;
- Interview personnel to confirm the employee’s work location, physical workspace, hours, salary and duties; and
- Speak with the employee.
Site visits can vary from USCIS to DOL and questions/documents requests in each audit are usually unique. Here are some things you can do to prepare in case of site visit:
- Check to make sure your employees' job duties, work sites, and salary are consistent with the petition the company filed with USCIS. Amendments are required if there has been a change to a foreign employee's job title and duties, hours, job location, or if the employee's salary has decreased. Amendments must be filed in a timely manner
- Designate a company representative as the main point of contact to respond to an inquiry by an FDNS officer. An alternate contact should also be selected in case the primary contact is not available
- Be courteous and compliant to the basic officer requests
- Know where your employees' documents are. You can access petitions on Bridge by clicking on "Library" on your dashboard and searching on the foreign employee's name
- Request that all questions or document requests from the auditing party pertaining to immigration be written down and emailed to you so that you and/or your immigration attorney can review the information
Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.