USCIS Targets H-1B Employer Abuse

USCIS Targets H-1B Employer AbuseU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) refines its approach to ferreting out employer fraud and abuse around the H-1B visa program with multiple targeted measures. The agency’s aim with the new measures announced in April is to ensure good-faith efforts on the part of employers that participate in the visa program.  

In its more targeted approach, USCIS site visits to employer locations with H-1B visa workers focus on:

  • Cases where commercially-available data fails to validate an employer’s basic business information
  • Cases where employers have a high ratio of H-1B workers as compared to U.S. workers
  • Cases where H-1B workers work off site or at another company or organization location

The increased scrutiny on employers is also intended to protect current H-1B visa holders. As employer fraud and abuse of the program includes taking advantage of foreign-born workers.

Fraud and abuse indicators include:

  • Lower wages paid to H-1B workers than the wage certified on the Labor Condition Application (LCA)
  • Lower wages paid to H-1B workers compared to other works performing the same or similar duties
  • Higher level or otherwise different duties are assigned to an H-1B worker than the duties specified in the H-1B petition
  • Less experienced H-1B workers hold a similar position compared to a more experienced U.S. worker
  • H-1B worker location is different than that indicated in the LCA

While USCIS increases its enforcement actions around the H-1B system, it’s also asking for public assistance in the effort. In particular, the agency is reaching out to current H-1B workers who suspect employer abuse. To this end, “immigration law may provide certain protections to these workers,” according to a USCIS statement.

Citing potential “extraordinary circumstances,” USCIS might exercise its discretion in cases where an H-1B worker:

  • Applies to extend H-1B status or change from nonimmigrant status
  • Face retaliatory action from an employer
  • Lost or failed to maintain H-1B status

H-1B workers and American workers can report claims of possible fraud or abuse by sending tips to

With the new measures, the agency intends to bring more transparency to the visa program as a whole. At the conclusion of the H-1B visa cap filing season for the fiscal year, 2018 concludes, for instance, USCIS plan to publish a report detailing data around the petitions. Additionally, the agency also plans the creation of a web-based, searchable platform designed to give the public greater understanding of how H-1B visas are used.