October 10, 2019
Increased U.S. Employment Visa Scrutiny
Recently, the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) has been conducting site visits of U.S. employers using L-1B visas, as has been reported by Bloomberg BNA. The L-1B visa is used for transferring foreign workers with specialized knowledge from their overseas workplace to a U.S. based work location. This increased scrutiny could be a measure in the wake of Trump’s executive order, “Buy American Hire American”, directing officials to safeguard interests of U.S. workers. The site visits are an additional layer of scrutiny that help officials to detect any fraud in the employment visa system at companies.
Site visits at employer locations is a part of the USCIS’ visa fraud detection program; the agency had last announced expansion of its site visit program in fiscal year 2014. This program involves unannounced visits to work sites having foreign workers on certain types of employment visas in an effort to ensure that employers and workers are complying with visa regulations. Detection of one fraud incident at a company can lead to a higher scrutiny of every other visa that the company sponsors.
The H-1B program has squarely been under Trump administration’s radar for quite a while and one can expect more such increased scrutiny measures to affect the L-1 visas, and potentially other employment visas too.
Zeenat Phophalia, Esq., Senior Associate