Preparing For Increased Immigration Enforcement ActivitiesPosted June 19, 2017 Articles
Various immigration-related agencies, including USCIS and the Department of Labor seem to be preparing for increased enforcement actions. The USCIS has already re-allocated resources in its site visit program. Below are steps to take to prepare for ongoing and future enforcement actions.
USCIS Site Visits
The USCIS Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) unit conducts unannounced inspections of the worksites of employees on temporary work visas. The purpose of site inspections is to verify the information that employers provide in their immigration petitions and to make sure that sponsored workers are complying with the terms of their admission. FDNS primarily visits worksites of H-1B and L-1A employees. Recently the USCIS shifted resources to focus on worksites where an employee is working at a third-party client site. FDNS completed over 10,000 site visits in 2016.
What to do during a site visit
- Ask to see the ID of the officer and make a photocopy for your records
- Have a company representative follow the FDNS officer and sit in on all conversations. The company representative take notes on everything that occurs as FDNS statements are sometimes incorrect.
- During a visit or in an email request,theFDNS officer usually works from a standard list of questions used for all employers. The officer may ask about:
- The employer’s business, annual revenue and the number of employees at a particular location, in the United States or worldwide;
- The organization’s immigration program in general, including the number of foreign nationals sponsored for nonimmigrant programs and employment-based green card;
- The foreign worker’s job title, responsibilities, salary and work schedule, as well as those of other employees in similar positions;
- The foreign national’s education, previous employment, residence, and family members in the United States.
- The officer may also ask for documents pertaining to the company and the foreign national, including:
- The foreign national’s paystubs and W-2 forms;
- Paystubs for employees supervised by the foreign national, if any;
- Organizational chart for the U.S. organization;
- Organizational chart for the related foreign organization (L-1 site visits);
- Company wage and tax documentation;
- Contracts, statements of work and/or agreements between the petitioner and an end-client, if the foreign national is placed offsite.
- If you do not know the answer to a question ask for permission to answer at a later time in writing. If you receive an inquiry over the phone or in writing speak with your attorney first before responding.
If the work location of an employee will change or if a substantial change will be made to an employee’s position please speak to your Meltzer Hellrung attorney. The best way to pass an inspection is to be proactive in filing the appropriate documentation with the USCIS to accurately reflect changes in employment.
At any time Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can visit a company unannounced and ask to inspect the company’s I-9 files. The company is generally given three days to respond. Given the fast turnaround time on these requests it is a best practice for employers to perform regular audits and maintenance of their I-9 files. For further guidance on auditing your I-9 files please speak to your Meltzer Hellrung attorney.
Public Access Files
The Department of Labor has indicated that it will be developing new regulations regarding its enforcement of immigration procedures under its jurisdiction. While the DOL does not currently have resources for many investigations it may gain those resources in future Federal budgets. With that in mind, it is best to audit public access files in relation to H-1B petitions and ensure ongoing compliance with H-1B files.