FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Raids.
Multiple companies were raided on March 7th in different states. It seems that ICE has been tracking these companies through their H-1B filings. Allegations vary from claims of nonexistent Internal Projects, Duplicate H-1B filings, and fraudulent documents being used in H-1B filings.
Employers: Avoid H1B Visa Fraud or Abuse
H-1B employers are at risk for ICE raids if they are abusing the system. The Department of Homeland Security has announced steps tonprevent H-1B fraud or abuse. Employers that fall within the following 3 categories may be at higher risk of a site visit:
1. H-1B dependent employers;
2. Employers whose basic information cannot be validated through commercially available data; and
3. Employers petitioning for H-1B workers to work at an off-site location.
To avoid fraud or abuse, it is important to remain compliant with current immigration laws. Below are some tips to remain in compliance:
- Pay the “actual” or “prevailing” wage certified on the Labor Condition Application (LCA) form to H-1B employees
- ake sure your H-1B workers are actually working at the location as certified on the LCA and as mentioned in H-1B application.
- Make sure your H-1B workers are performing the duties specified in the H-1B petition
- Do not “bench” your employees, meaning you cannot reduce or stop paying your employees because of lack of available work – if you fail to pay, you are violating federal law
- Keep the employee’s “public access file,” or PAF, available for public inspection
- Inform USCIS of any “material changes” in employment by filing an amendment– this includes a change in the employee’s job duties, job location, or position within the company
- Treat H-1B employees the same as all other employees – you must provide H1B workers with the same benefits as those provided to U.S. workers, and you cannot pass them over for promotions because of their status
The key is to BE COMPLIANT. If you have questions, please consult with an experienced immigration attorney to guide your company in navigating immigration laws.
Rahul Reddy, Attorney Reddy & Neumann PC