USCIS Audits H-1B Visa Program
An audit of H-1B applications entitled the “H-1B BFCA Benefit Fraud & Compliance Assessment” and results of which were released earlier in October, 2008 suggests that one in five H-1B visas are either fraudulent or contain technical violations. The audit was released by the Office of Fraud Detection and National Security, which is part of the USCIS. The report was produced at the request of Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.
A random sample of 246 applications found 13 percent of the applicants used forged documentation, false businesses or addresses, false job offers, or misrepresented their immigration status. Another 7 percent had technical violations such as requiring the applicant to pay the application fee or list a salary substantively above what the applicant would actually be paid.
The USCIS plans to tighten up its procedures for vetting and approving the H1B applications in the wake of this audit to try eliminate the types of problems identified in the audit.
Some of the changes that maybe under consideration are:
- Increases in the number of visits investigators make to the sites of potential H-1B employers, to confirm that the companies exist, the nature of their business and the job descriptions of the H-1B applicants involved.
- Modifying the evidence required to extend an H-1B visa, such as a W-2 form to confirm the salary being paid.
- Changes to the I-129 forms used in the applications to make them less cumbersome to fill out and less prone to error.
- A plan to use “open-source” data to verify the identity of petitioners. Open-source is any form of data that is open to the public.
The USCIS is also working with the Department of Labor on changes to the Immigration and Naturalization Act that would allow a broader use of the $500 that is paid by each applicant into an anti-fraud fund that is supposed to pay for the policing of the system.
Trupti N Patel & Associates can help companies comply with the requirements of the H-1B Program. If you employ H1B workers, please contact us to see how we can help your organization comply with the rules & regulations governing the H1B Program.