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Immigration Law

DHS OIG: USCIS Needs a Better Approach To Verify H-1B Visa Participants

DHS OIG, Oct. 20, 2017 - "USCIS site visits provide minimal assurance that H-1B visa participants are compliant and not engaged in fraudulent activity. These visits assess whether petitioners and beneficiaries comply with applicable immigration laws and regulations. USCIS can approve more than 330,000 H-1B petitions each year and, as of April 2017, reported more than 680,000 approved and valid H-1B petitions. USCIS conducts a limited number of visits and does not always ensure the officers are thorough and comprehensive in their approach. Further limiting the site visits’ effectiveness, USCIS does not always take proper action when immigration officers identify potential fraud or noncompliance. USCIS also uses targeted site visits to respond to indicators of fraud; however, the agency does not completely track the costs and analyze the results of these visits. These shortfalls exist for various reasons. USCIS does not ensure that petitioners who previously abused the program are denied new petitions. USCIS could also do more to prevent approving petitions for recurring violations and collaborate more with external stakeholders. Additionally, the agency does not provide comprehensive guidance for how USCIS personnel resolve site visit findings. It does not have a process to collect and analyze key data elements to help guide the H­1B site visit program. Lastly, the agency lacks performance measures to show how site visits contribute to improving the H-1B Program."