Immigration Alert: Increased H-1B Onsite Visits
On October 20, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Inspector General released a report outlining recommendations to improve the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program and targeted site visits for H-1B non-immigrant workers.
What Employers and Foreign Nationals Can Expect
The USCIS’s Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) Unit already conducts random inspections at worksites of non-immigrant employees. However, in line with the DHS’s new report along with the Administration’s prior notices on implementing enhanced vetting procedures, we anticipate that DHS will likely be conducting more frequent and more thorough onsite visits.
FDNS inspectors may arrive at H-1B employee offices without advance notice. Below are some practical tips to prepare for site visits:
- If an FDNS inspector arrives at a worksite, an appropriate HR and Gibney contact should be notified immediately to confirm and provide any requested information.
- An FDNS inspector should provide proper identification in order to verify credentials and for any follow-up communications, as needed.
- An inspector may ask to speak directly to foreign national employees, management, and/or HR to verify H-1B petition details such as job title, job duties, educational background, working hours, salary/pay statements, and worksite locations. FDNS inspectors will check these answers against the petition on file; therefore, it is important that foreign national employees are thoroughly familiar with all aspects of the H-1B petition.
- Remind employees, managers and HR to notify their Gibney contact in advance of any changes in job details such as duties or worksite location.
- It is important that employers put in place protocols for lobby and security staff to follow in the event of a site visit.
Please contact immigration counsel if you have specific questions about the nature and scope of site visits and how to prepare.
For more information on the Administration’s prior announcements, please see Gibney’s alerts regarding the “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order and enhanced vetting procedures.
Gibney will continue to closely monitor these developments. For more information on this alert, please contact your designated Gibney representative, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.