Historically, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has been the primary auditor of companies using H-2B visa to hire temporary, seasonal workers. But amid debates over the cap on H-2B visas and an expressed need for more H-2B workers the USCIS’ Fraud Detection and National Security unit (FDNS) is getting into the mix and conducting unannounced site visits.
Until now, FDNS, according to its website, has been conducting compliance-review site visits on religious worker petitions, H-1B petitions, and L-1 petitions. President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” executive order, which directed the Secretaries of State, Labor, and Homeland Security to consult to revise rules and guidance “to protect the interests of United States workers . . . including through the prevention of fraud and abuse” in immigration, appears to have prompted greater sharing of compliance reviews between the DOL and the Department of Homeland Security. USCIS already has set up an anonymous tip line to receive information about fraud and abuse of the H-2B program that may be a source for decisions on H-2B site visits.
Under H-2B regulations, employers must retain information regarding recruitment for a three-year period. DOL audits of H-2B employers generally focus on payroll records, evidence of recruitment and results, and verification of the number of H-2B workers employed. The FDNS site visits reportedly are focusing on similar items, but may be more extensive. If you have H-2B workers, ensure you are complying with all H-2B requirements, including the recording-keeping requirements.
If you have questions about how to prepare your company and your staff for a possible H-2B audit by either DOL or FDNS, please reach out to your Jackson Lewis attorney.