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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

11 INDICTED IN H-1B FRAUD CASE

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.

ICE has announced the arrests of eleven individuals in seven states as part of an investigation in to visa and mail fraud. The arrested were employees of Vision Systems Group, Inc., a New Jersey company that is a so-called "job shop" placing IT workers from India. According to USCIS:

This investigation involves companies that sponsor primarily H-1B non-immigrants, or temporary
workers in specialty occupations that require particular expertise. The companies that are the subject of this investigation have asserted that the foreign workers have been brought to the U.S. to fill existing vacancies. However, the companies allegedly have not always had jobs available for these workers, thereby placing them in non-pay status after they arrive in the United States. In some cases, the foreign workers have allegedly been placed in jobs and locations not previously certified by the Department of Labor, displacing qualified American workers and violating prevailing wage laws. The companies and foreign workers have allegedly submitted false statements and documents in support of their visa petitions. The false statements and documents were mailed or wired to state and federal agencies in support of the visa applications. The companies are suspected of visa fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy.

As long time readers of this blog know,I've said many times that before issuing draconian new reforms to the H-1B system, we should first enforce the regulations on the books. The Labor Department needs more funds to do a better job enforcing existing rules and employers abusing workers and flouting our laws need to see more of these kinds of headlines.

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  1. good guy's Avatar
    I think I read somewhere in this post or elsewhere that these arrests were the tip of the iceberg. It appears US attorney is going to spread the dragnet to net more companies soon. A majority of H1B dependant body shoppers "employers" run by Indian folks follow the same playbook, so more arrest would not suprise anyone who knows how H1B loopholes are exploited.

  2. JoeF's Avatar
    That's the main reason why I think there will not be an H1 lottery this year, or if, then only a couple months into the application period.
    The consultants who follow this playbook are most likely scared sh*tless.
    They will try to lay low, not filing anything, hoping to escape this tsunami.

    But this wasn't a loophole they were exploiting. These guys were blatantly violating the existing H1 laws. The only "loophole", if you want, was the lack of enforcement. I am happy to see that there finally is enforcement.
  3. George Chell's Avatar
    People have already started applying for H1B beginning October 2009. But, I think they are more well known corporations and think tanks. Lack of enforcement is a big problem in this country. In Singapore there are no quotas for skilled workers but enforcement is tough. Here it is the other way around.
  4. JoeF's Avatar
    "People have already started applying for H1B beginning October 2009."

    I am sorry, George, but that's not possible.
    H-1B Applications can be filed up to 6 months before the start date, and with the fiscal year starting October 1, that means applications can be filed starting April 1.
  5. eh's Avatar
    "As long time readers of this blog know, I've said many times that before issuing draconian new reforms to the H-1B system, we should first enforce the regulations on the books."

    How stunningly generous of you. Most likely you'd call any restrictions or reductions in H1B "draconian". Not that you have a vested interest, being an immigration lawyer and all that.

    But I think that if you were e.g. a white American engineer, say in your mid 40s -- you know, someone who had to directly compete with mostly younger and cheaper H1Bs for jobs (please don't mention "skills", it has nothing to do with that) -- I think you'd have somewhat stronger feelings the first time you walked into an interview (should you actually get that far) and saw that two thirds or more of the people there to talk with you were foreigners. This is the daily reality.
  6. Adam Sandler's Avatar
    There is no need for any additional funds since the USCIS is already collecting $500 per H1B applicant. They need to vet the application properly. Many of these come with fradulant educational certificates, resumes and the USCIS should nip them in the bud. It is true highly skilled can be beneficial for US but 90% of the people are bogus, unqualified with bloated resume. They are ready to accept any salary thereby displacing the qualified american IT worker.

    There are many companies and body shoppers who fradulantly bring in people on B1 (Business Visa) and L1 (inter company) in addition to H1. You can find many of them staying in many hotels working in different client locations which they are not supposed to do. It is high time the immigration officials raid the hotels check everyone's visa status and arrest the culprits and their employers. A few raids will do the trick as it has done now.

    Many body shoppers and big companies are panich after this week's arrest and putting their H1B bench employees on the return flght to India asking them to return only after they get a project. When they return, the immigration should have a double check and interview before allowing them inside. If they fail the scrutiny, they should be put back in the next flight back to India.
  7. Too legit to quit's Avatar
    Eh, you're missing the point. He's agreeing with you.

    Enforce the regulations first, so the so-called 40-year-old engineer doesn't run into this problem BEFORE adding any more bureaucracy.

    Even among legitimate H1Bs, you won't find any disagreement. All H1Bs aren't only in engineering and tech, and they're neither inexperienced or lower-paid. I'm an H-1B in another field, with over 25 years of experience and compensated well above the stipulated rate.

    Get rid of the cheats by enforcing existing rules? Oh, yeah. Bring it on.
  8. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    To Marie - I have deleted your post because I don't allow my blog to be a forum for making personal attacks against other people who post here or against my fellow professionals. You can do that on your own blog. I allow people who disagree with me to post here - there are people nearly every day who do so. I don't allow abusive posts, however.
  9. Marie's Avatar
    JoeF, it is a lack of enforcement, but also language in the rules that has been amended to be necessarily vague to provide the loopholes. And corrupt politicians who claim they can't do anything about it, when it was they who supported such vague language. They have every ability to remove these changes, and in fact to push forward laws that remove all incentives to violate our laws. It was they who allowed foreign owned shops to import cheap foreign labor. It is they that don't refer to us as citizens, but "workers" as though we are just one more commodity to buy and sell. That is against our constitutionally protected rights and freedoms. Every member of congress that allies with the US Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable, all members (representatives and senators) who are part of the India caucus need to be removed from office at the next election or through investigation and prosecution. Our current secretary of state is the founding member of the senate's India caucus and she needs to be forced out of government.
  10. Greg SIskind's Avatar
    Marie - You can conduct your war on lawyers on your own blog. But I'm not going to allow my blog to become your forum.
  11. ASDF's Avatar
    While I totally appreciate the enforcement efforts, there are other reasons why these are happening. US Attorney Mr Whittaker will be replaced by President Obama sooner or later. He has lead the charge on the illegal immigration raids on meat plants across Iowa, he is now targeting the H1B companies. He wants to run for the US senate/house seat, not sure which one and join the ranks of Hon Steve King and Sen Grassley. Real enforcement is great. Enforcement to gain reputation in the public eye for personal ends is some thing else.

    Greg,

    On a diff note how are the employees responsible for the fraud committed by this president/CEO, who failed to get LCA for every location these employees moved. I bet 90% of the H1B applicants might not know it until yesterday/today. Also, What are the exact false documents that these foreign workers, not the company, produced to USCIS? Where are the court affidavits?
  12. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    ASDF - The only infomration I have is what is in the press release from ICE. I know that document fraud in H-1B cases has typically involved educational documents and verifying employment experience. Not sure if that was the issue here.
  13. legal immigrant - too bad if that offends you's Avatar
    Marie:

    The India caucus is responsible for creating diplomatic goodwill and pressing for defense cooperation. India sits in a neighborhood hostile to the US. Their efforts have resulted in a robust relationship, intelligence sharing and defense cooperation. I guess you don't care. Because YOUR H1B laws have a loophole and because YOUR government won't enforce its laws, India is suddenly to blame? That too at the cost of cutting your nose to spite your face? H1B is not a visa for India alone. People from all over the world come in on it. Go forth, enforce, root out fraud, many H1B workers here would welcome it. But please stop making this all about India an Indians. Or is that your real problem beneath all this posturing?

    Adam:

    Your 90% figure is invented and ridiculous. A few banks collapsed last year. Is banking bad and should we stop doing it? have you withdrawn your money yet? Every year some white Americans are convicted of hate crimes? Are 90% of white American racist criminals? What goes around, comes around. The only reason many American companies are surviving and jobs still exist is because of profits from countries like India. How about you demand they stop doing business there? Why just stop at the workers? Can't make an omelet without breaking the eggs you know, or do you?
  14. JoeF's Avatar
    "But I think that if you were e.g. a white American engineer, say in your mid 40s -- you know, someone who had to directly compete with mostly younger and cheaper H1Bs for jobs (please don't mention "skills", it has nothing to do with that) -- I think you'd have somewhat stronger feelings the first time you walked into an interview (should you actually get that far) and saw that two thirds or more of the people there to talk with you were foreigners. This is the daily reality."

    You must be living on a different planet. I AM a white American software engineer in the mid-40s. I can compete with any younger person any day. And I am very supportive of the H1 program.
    THAT is the daily reality, not what anti-H1 people make you believe.
  15. JoeF's Avatar
    @Marie:
    "JoeF, it is a lack of enforcement, but also language in the rules that has been amended to be necessarily vague to provide the loopholes."
    Care to point to the "loopholes"? I don't know any.

    "And corrupt politicians who claim they can't do anything about it, when it was they who supported such vague language."
    Well, then vote for other politicians. And/or run for office yourself.
    If the politicians get reelected, it is obvious that your claim of corruption looks more like a vendetta than anything else.
  16. George Chell's Avatar
    "But I think that if you were e.g. a white American engineer, say in your mid 40s -- you know, someone who had to directly compete with mostly younger and cheaper H1Bs for jobs (please don't mention "skills", it has nothing to do with that) -- I think you'd have somewhat stronger feelings the first time you walked into an interview (should you actually get that far) and saw that two thirds or more of the people there to talk with you were foreigners. This is the daily reality."

    How is it if you are white, any Indian who is your competition is always hired for lower wages and could not be possibly better than you or your white colleagues. This is the daily entitlement reality. As I said, if you can show that incompetent C grade foreign engineers are being hired over A grade Americans I will support you..otherwise to hell with you! If there should be no entitlement based on skin color (ie., Affirmative Action), there should be no entitlement based on nationality.

  17. George Chell's Avatar
    "It is they that don't refer to us as citizens, but "workers" as though we are just one more commodity to buy and sell. That is against our constitutionally protected rights and freedoms."

    Last I looked, the constitution does not provide you with the right to a job. Citizenship does not assure a job for you either.

    "Every member of congress that allies with the US Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable, all members (representatives and senators) who are part of the India caucus need to be removed from office at the next election or through investigation and prosecution. Our current secretary of state is the founding member of the senate's India caucus and she needs to be forced out of government."

    It is a global economy get over it and stop asking for special privileges! There are millions of Americans still employed and they are employed because most of them (not necessarily some management) perform well in their jobs. Millions of Americans are working as expats around the world. there are 100,000 Americans just working in Dubai in good jobs and another 300,000 working in India for various corporations and entities..seems like you have nothing to say about this!


  18. George Chell's Avatar
    "You must be living on a different planet. I AM a white American software engineer in the mid-40s. I can compete with any younger person any day. And I am very supportive of the H1 program.
    THAT is the daily reality, not what anti-H1 people make you believe."

    Exactly, my point. Millions of competent white Americans employed all over the world in may non-white countries. What does eh have to say about Chip Goodyear, who is an American, being appointed as the CEO of Temasek in Singapore? Has an US corporation or government run entity ever appoint a Singaporean to the top job? Does he even know about this, or is it his argument that white Americans are always better and demands privilvege?

    http://www.economist.com/finance/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13110746

    How about the Chairman of the Development Bank of Singapore who is also American?

    http://www.forbes.com/feeds/afx/2009/01/29/afx5980598.html

    Both of them are white Americans and they have competed successfully with Asians. Why is it that eh thinks when they hire someone non-white it has to be because of cheap labor, not because he or she may be better qualified? Is it the arrogance that white Americans are always better? That is the arrogance that got us in this crisis and that may be one reason the country decided to go with Obama who definitely does not fit the mold.


  19. mulberry's Avatar
    "" It is true highly skilled can be beneficial for US but 90% of the people are bogus, unqualified with bloated resume. They are ready to accept any salary thereby displacing the qualified american IT worker.""

    Adam,
    How did you come up with the 90% number. Is there a study on this??

    By the way - there are 20,000 visas (23% of the total H1B's) for students who get their Master's and PhD's here in the US.
    Even if you make a dumb assumption that only these guys are qualified - that should only give you 77% unqualified.

    But you rely on propaganda and making stats out of thin air - If you don't have the skills, but still want to save your job, at least be truthful about it. You have my sympathy and nothing else.
  20. George Chell's Avatar
    "By the way - there are 20,000 visas (23% of the total H1B's) for students who get their Master's and PhD's here in the US.
    Even if you make a dumb assumption that only these guys are qualified - that should only give you 77% unqualified."

    If you include those that are not subject to caps, University Professors and Researchers who got their degrees at US universities, the number will fall to less than 20% even if his argument is right!

    "But you rely on propaganda and making stats out of thin air - If you don't have the skills, but still want to save your job, at least be truthful about it. You have my sympathy and nothing else."

    No sympathy from me, count me out! These are the kind of people who most likely fought affirmative actions saying that less qualified minorities and those without skills are getting jobs over qualified white Americans. This was precisely the argument made by Barbara Grutter and Jennifer Gratz at Michigan. The result was they passed and anti AA referendum in 2006. I sympathized with the whites who argued that there should be no affirmative action because it short changes qualified whites when they were fighting AA in California and Washington State. Now these are some of the same people who have joined up with Pat Buchanan saying that there should be a quota for Asian Americans at UCLA and Berkeley and even University of Washington! If he does not have skills he needs to retrain!




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