The Fraud Detection Unit of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (PDF) (USCIS) has initiated thousands of unannounced site visits to employers with H-1B employees. Although the vast majority of site visits go smoothly, this program can be intimidating and create a chilling effect for employers who wish to pursue the H-1B program appropriately. Employers who do not file accurate H-1B applications may have their petitions revoked, and, in cases of severe abuse, further investigation could lead to civil penalties and criminal prosecution.
Conscientious employers generally do not have to fear a site visit, but should understand them and know how to respond. A site visit will occur at the employer’s location or employee’s worksite. The USCIS investigator generally will ask for the signer of the immigration forms, but may ask for another company official. The investigator will seek to review information from the immigration petition regarding the employer’s business and the employee’s job title, duties, work location, and salary.
If you have H-1B employees, prepare for the strong likelihood of a site visit. This means maintaining accurate immigration documentation and becoming knowledgeable aboutthe information they contain. If the H-1B employee is not on site, be sure that there is a person at the location who knows how to respond to an audit.
If you are audited, take careful notes, including the name, title, and contact information of the investigator. If possible, have a witness who also prepares detailed notes of the visit.
If you are unsure how to answer the investigator’s question , simply say that you will follow up after the visit. If any issues arise during the site visit or if you have other concerns, ask to have your immigration lawyer present in person or by telephone.