L1 petitioners to be included in USCIS site visits

L1 visas allow organizations in the United States to transfer an overseas employee to the U.S. to work for the same company, its parent or subsidiary. This visa grants working immigrants, along with their spouses and children, temporary residence in the U.S. Many L1 visa holders eventually apply for a green card.

As of January 2014, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began to conduct worksite inspections of L1 employers under the USCIS’s Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) Division’s Site Inspection Program. The Department of Homeland Security released a report that studied the L1 intracompany transferee program, and discussed concerns over fraud within the L1 program. Their report is the first step in addressing the instances of wrongdoing and is an attempt to make the L1 system more efficient and fraud-proof. Some offices that apply for L1 visas for their overseas employees, or extensions for immigrant workers already in the U.S., have falsified documents that were incorrectly approved. For this reason, the USCIS intends to be more rigorous with their worksite inspections before renewing L1 petitions.

Employees working under an L1 visa may be interviewed on these site visits, but an immigration manager is requested to be present to answer any questions the interviewer or the employee may have. Immigration managers are there to defend the rights of immigrant workers and are expected to contact legal counsel if they feel the site inspector is taking inappropriate liberties. The site inspector is charged with asking the immigrant employee for details about his or her employment, such as job duties, job title, work hours, work location and salary.

L1 employers visited by a site inspector will not be notified if they passed the inspection, and if no fraud was suspected the employer will likely hear nothing more. If the inspector reports an instance of wrongdoing, petition denials or revocation could occur.