San Diego Immigration Lawyer about Surprise Investigation by USCIS

Recently AILA shared some information about a “new” benefit fraud assessment program in which USCIS is beginning to use the millions of dollars it has received over the last decade from the “fraud fee” in the H-1B program. This new program involves the hiring of a private contractor to send “investigators” out to conduct 25,0000 site visits to H-1B employers to verify if the H-1B employee is working at the employer and performing the work as outlined in the H-1B petition.

The representative will indicate that he/she is a contractor hired to conduct these investigations (this is similar to the investigators that conduct the background investigations for government clearances) wearing badge with a picture. Questions can be asked in the following way:
1. Basic questions about the company, what you do, how many employees you had, work hours, office locations, etc.

2. How many employees one has on H1Bs, how many of them been sponsored for permanent residency and how many of them are legal permanent residents. Approximate numbers will be fine.

3. About the H-1B employee – what they did, their salary, work hours and start date.

4. ID can be checked for the verification purposes.

5. Can look for W-2, I-9 or pay stub.

6. May look at payroll register of your last payroll
7. Finally, they like to meet with the foreign national employee asking about their job duties, work hours and salary. Can check their ID too.

8. Quick tour around your offices.

Hence, it is our suggestion to all H-1B employers to intact their records. One has to respond in a proper way to successfully overcome such kind of surprise audit. Please ensure to maintain thorough records of your employees and fulfill all US Govt. requirements to come with flying colors in such kind of unanticipated audit in future too.