Since 2009, we have conducted random administrative site visits to ensure that employers and foreign workers are complying with requirements of the H-1B nonimmigrant classification. We verify H-1B workers’ wages, job duties, and work locations during site visits. This action is not meant to target nonimmigrant employees for any kind of criminal or administrative action but rather to identify employers who are abusing the system.
We seek to determine if workers are not being paid while in the United States as they wait for projects or work, a practice known as “benching” which violates U.S. immigration laws. We also conduct site visits in cases where there are suspicions of fraud or abuse and refer many of the cases to our counterparts at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for further investigation.
Starting this month, we will take a more targeted approach focusing on:
- H-1B-dependent employers (those who have a high ratio of H-1B workers as compared to U.S. workers, as defined by statute);
- Cases where we cannot validate the employer’s basic business information through commercially available data; and
- Employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company or organization’s location.
Targeted site visits will also help us determine whether H-1B-dependent employers who normally must meet H-1B recruitment attestation requirements are actually paying their workers the statutorily required salary to qualify for an exemption from these requirements. These site visits will assist in determining if these employers are evading their obligation to make a good faith effort to recruit U.S. workers and to not displace U.S. workers.
Targeted site visits will allow us to focus resources where fraud and abuse of the H-1B program may be more likely to occur. We will also continue to make unannounced and random visits to all H-1B employers across the country, both before and after any petition is adjudicated.