Site visits to employers sponsoring H-1B petitions have been increasing recently as USCIS continues to implement changes in response to its H-1B Benefit Fraud Analysis report from September 2008. As site visits become more common, employers need to become familiar with what to expect and the topics and questions that may be raised by the inspector.
The California Service Center (CSC) advised employers that inspections typically check the work location listed on the I-129 petition. (For employees who work offsite or at multiple locations, an itinerary should be provided in the petition.) In ddition to speaking to a company representative – typically the signatory of the etition – and the beneficiary, the inspector may also ask to review documents related to the petition and take photos of the worksite.
In practice, we have had inspectors:
- Verify the information submitted with the petition, including supporting documentation submitted by the petitioner, based on a checklist prepared by USCIS;
- Verify the existence of a petitioning entity;
- Take digital photographs;
- Speak with organizational representatives to confirm the beneficiary’s work location, employment workspace, hours, salary and duties; and
- Speak with employees to confirm job details contained in the I-129 petition.
Furthermore, we have had inspectors request general information about other H-1B petitions pending or in process with the employer. These requests have been made in person, by phone, and by email.
Site inspectors will report the results of their site inspections to the Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS). An FDNS Officer will review the information and determine whether an official inquiry should be made. If so, the FDNS will provide an Immigration Services Officer (ISO) with a Summary of Findings (SOF), which may decide to request additional evidence from the petitioner or initiate denial or revocation proceedings. When indicators of fraud are identified, the FDNS Officer may refer the case to ICE for criminal investigation.
If your company is contacted about a site visit, contact your Graham Adair attorney for guidance.