August 18, 2009
USCIS, utilizing the $500 "fraud fee" it has been collecting for each initial H-1B petition, has engaged outside contractors to conduct thousands of site visits to H-1B petitioners. Such site visits occur after approval of the petition and they are normally conducted without advance notice, although some investigators will call first to ensure s/he would not have any issues getting on the premises.
The investigators will look to verify two things: (1) that the company is a real operating business entity, and (2) that the person being sponsored is a "legitimate" employee doing the work that was indicated in the H-1B petition. To verify these facts, USCIS will ask to meet the H-1B worker and see some form of identification and they will meet with an HR person to confirm the H-1B worker's date of hire, title, work location, and salary information. Photos of the company office building may also be taken to document that the company exists.
The investigators have been reported as being very professional and polite, and seemed interested only in obtaining the basic information listed above.
If your company is selected for such a visit, we suggest the following:
Contact your ILG attorney immediately. Based on preliminary feedback, investigators are happy to work with/through counsel to set up the appointment for the inspection and/or obtain the necessary information.
Make other HR members aware of the possibility for such a visit and designate the person who will interact with the investigator. Other employees including receptionists should refer all questions from any government officials to the company's designated representative.
H-1B files should be organized and readily accessible. If H-1B files are not routinely kept at the particular work site visited, the investigator may ask for a follow-up meeting to review the petition documents.