DHS OIG Final Report: Implementation of L-1 Visa Regulations

DHS OIG Final Report: Implementation of L-1 Visa Regulations

"Senator Charles Grassley requested that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General examine the potential for fraud or abuse in the L-1 intracompany transferee visa program. The L-1 visa program facilitates the temporary transfer of foreign nationals with management, professional, and specialist skills to the United States.

Through domestic and international fieldwork, we observed DHS personnel and Department of State consular officials process L-1 petitions and visas. We also interviewed 71 managers and staff in DHS and the Department of State.

Although U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services regulations and headquarters memorandums provide guidance regarding the definition of specialized knowledge, they are insufficient to ensure consistent application of L-1 visa program requirements in processing visas and petitions. More communication between DHS and the Department of State would improve the processing of blanket petitions. We determined that program effectiveness would be improved and risks reduced with additional effort in (1) training for Customs and Border Protection Officers that will enable them to fill their L-1 gatekeeper role at the northern land border more effectively, (2) improving internal controls of the fee collection effort at the northern land border, (3) more rigorous consideration of new office petitions to reduce fraud and abuse, (4) providing an adjudicative tool that is accessible to all Federal personnel responsible for L-1 decisions, and (5) consistently applying Visa Reform Act anti-“job-shop” provisions to L-1 petitions.

These issues increase the opportunity for fraud and abuse in the L-1 visa program. We are making 10 recommendations to improve the integrity of the L-1 visa program. The Department concurred with all recommendations." - DHS, Aug. 9, 2013.