H-1B Anti-Fraud Program

New California Employers’ Requirements under AB 450: Immigration Worksite Enforcement Actions

California Assembly Bill No. 450 (AB 450) regarding California employers’ obligations when subject to federal immigration worksite enforcement actions was signed by Governor Brown on October 5, 2017, and took effect on January 1, 2018.  As part of a group of immigration-related bills recently signed into law, AB 450 is hailed by advocates as solidifying California’s status as a Sanctuary State.  The law introduces several requirements applicable to public and private employers in California.  How the California Labor Commissioner or California Attorney General will enforce the law is still an open question, given that federal law ordinarily preempts state law in the area of immigration, and because there is uncertainty surrounding which federal immigration enforcement agents must be refused entrance or documents under the new California law.  Below we detail a few of the new requirements for employers:

USCIS announces new measures to detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced new measures to detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse. In addition to its usual random and unannounced site visits, USCIS says that it will now make targeted site visits to:

  • Employers whose basic business information cannot be validated through commercially available data.
  • H-1B-dependent employers -- i.e. those with a high ratio of H-1B workers to U.S. workers, as defined by statute.
  • Employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company or organization’s location.

USCIS also announced that it had established an email address that will allow individuals to submit "tips, alleged violations and other relevant information about potential H-1B fraud and abuse."

VIBE – the USCIS’s New Information Verification System

When adjudicating employment-based immigration petitions, the USCIS is required to verify certain basic information about the petitioner, to make sure that the company or organization is a bona fide U.S. employer.  For these verifications, the USCIS relies on paper documentation submitted with the petitions, and issues Requests for Evidence (RFEs) to employers when the documentation initially submitted doesn’t fully provide the necessary information. 

Unannounced Site Visits to Workplaces Where H-1B Workers Are Employed

Background:  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Office of Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS), a unit created in 2004 to combat immigration benefit fraud, recently commenced an assessment of the H-1B program. FDNS previously conducted assessments in the L-1, EB-1-3 Multi-National Manager and Executive, and R-1 visa programs. Now, it is turning its attention to H-1Bs.  The following is information that employers should know about FDNS and FDNS’ current H-1B assessment program.