DHS Response to Grassley Inquiry Suggests Changes to H-1B Category
Posted by: Fabiana Hershfield, Supply Chain Manager
United States: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) intends to revise H-1B rules and guidance, increase site visits, and expand its oversight capabilities in targeting H-1B violators, the agency stated in a letter responding to a recent bipartisan inquiry led by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA).
Specifically, in accordance with the Presidential Executive Order on Buy American, Hire American, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) intends to propose new rules and guidance seeking to supersede or revise previous rules and guidance, with a focus on protecting U.S. workers by creating an H-1B allocation process which prioritizes higher-skilled, higher-paid workers. Further, an agency group specifically focused on H-1B issues is reviewing all H-1B related policies as USCIS plans to publish an updated H-1B guidance section to the USCIS policy manual. The agency did not specify when this will occur.
The agency also remains committed to several initiatives to combat H-1B fraud and abuse, as announced on April 3, 2017, including targeted site visits. Under its Administrative Site Visits and Verification Program, USCIS Fraud Detection and National Security officers conducted over 10,000 unannounced site visits in FY 2016 to collect information as part of a compliance review from a number of employers. Finally, USCIS is currently working with the Secretary's office and the Office of Management and Budget to produce legislative reforms to send to the Committee on the Judiciary to improve the H-1B program, and DHS plans to provide recommendations to enhance the program's integrity and protect U.S. workers from being undercut by beneficiaries of the H-1B program.
© 2017 Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, Fragomen Global LLP and affiliates. All Rights Reserved. This alert is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or give rise to an attorney-client relationship between you and Fragomen Worldwide. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen Worldwide. Reprinted with permission of Fragomen.
Cartus Recommendations for Relocation Managers
- Alert your teams of the increased possibility for unscheduled USCIS visits.
- Prepare your client for potential audits if you have an H1-B worker at a third-party worksite.
- Implement spot audits to ensure the employee’s duties, wages, and work location matches the described information provided in the I-129 form.
- Conduct periodic audits of all compliance records with your immigration provider.
- Prepare and disseminate protocol to lobby reception and security professionals.
- Develop and maintain policies in regards to foreign workers and each U.S. visa type, including the creation of an I-9 compliance program that provides a clear line of responsibility, consistency, and create processes to mitigate errors or correct reoccurring errors.
- Ensure you have the correct I-9 form for each employee.
- Ongoing review of E-Verify compliance and any past monitoring and compliance contact.
- If you receive a Notice of Inspection (NOI), immediately contact your immigration provider, as you will have three business days to produce all I-9 forms and all supporting documents such payroll, list of employees, and other requested business-related documents.