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I-9 E-Verify Immigration Compliance

H-1B Site Visits Will Be Increasing

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By: Bruce R. Buchanan, Sebelist Buchanan Law PLLC

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Due to a report by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the USCIS plans to substantially increase their H-1B site visits. On October 27, 2017, the OIG issued a report - “USCIS Needs a Better Approach to Verify H-1B Visa Participants” where it made four recommendations, all which USCIS said it would strive to achieve.

The OIG report made these findings:
1. USCIS does not track their site visits as to the type of visa category the visit pertains;
2. USCIS does not assess the information it collects from site visits;
3. USCIS is to conduct site visits, that will target – a) employers where basic business information cannot be verified; b) employers who are H-1B dependent; and c) employers who place beneficiaries offsite;
4. USCIS should deny new petitions for an employer, which has recurring violators;
5. USCIS should revoke petitions, where site visits are unverified; and
6. Immigration Officers are not all trained and site visits are not conducted on a uniform basis.
OIG’s four recommendations are:
1. USCIS should develop a process to collect and analyze all data collected from an H-1B site visit, including tracking the information and the program costs. USCIS also needs to analyze adjudicative actions for unverified site visits, and use the data collected to develop performance measures to assess the effectiveness of the site visit program;
2. USCIS should identify data and assessments through the site visits and share it with external stakeholders;
3. USCIS needs to identify where resources need to go for the site visit program, including adjusting the number of required site visits and time and effort spent; updating policies, procedures, and training so that site visits are conducted efficiently and uniformly; streamlining the employers visited and applying a risk-based approach; providing Immigration Officers a career path so that they do not leave; and
4. USCIS should develop comprehensive policies to ensure that adjudicative action is prioritized on fraudulent or noncompliant petitions.
Employers should be ready for more H-1B site visits. To be ready, an employer should:
1. Have a system in place if USCIS shows up for site visit, which includes calling their attorney;
2. Designate a contact or contacts to handle USCIS site visits;
3. Ask for and record the credentials and contact information of the USCIS official;
4. Keep copies of the public access files in a location where they can be accessed quickly;
5. If unsure of an answer to a question posed by the USCIS official, ask for additional time and offer to follow-up; and
6. At the end of the site visit, write down a detailed report, including questions USCIS asked.
For more information on other immigration compliance topics I invite you to read my new book, The I-9 and E-Verify Handbook, which is available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0997083379.

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