United States: USCIS Site Inspections: What Employers Need to Know
In the current climate of increased immigration enforcement, employers may see more worksite inspections by USCIS anti-fraud officers verifying the employment of foreign workers.
USCIS's Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) unit conducts unannounced inspections of the worksites of employers who sponsor foreign workers. The purpose of a site inspection is to verify the existence of the employer, check the truth of the information provided by the employer in its immigration petitions and ensure that sponsored workers are complying with the terms of their admission to the United States.
FDNS has been making site visits for several years, focusing principally on H-1B and L-1A employers. But according to a draft executive order on employment-based immigration, the Trump Administration plans to broaden the program in the near term to cover the L-1B specialized knowledge category and in the longer term to all immigration categories. Though the draft executive order has not yet been finalized, an increase in FDNS inspections could occur even in the absence of specific presidential actions.
What Happens During a Site Inspection
During a site inspection, an FDNS officer will verify the contents of a specific immigration petition, usually by visiting the work location listed in the petition. The officer may ask to speak to a human resources manager or other company representative, the foreign worker and his or her direct supervisor or manager. The officer may ask for a tour of the premises and request documents like payroll records and organizational charts. The employer can ask to have an attorney present during the site visit. Officers will not typically reschedule a site visit so that an attorney can be there, but may agree to allow counsel to be present by phone.
After a site visit, the officer may contact the employer by phone or email to request additional information. If there appears to be a discrepancy between the petition and the information gathered during the visit and in subsequent communications, USCIS may notify the employer of its intent to revoke the petition. If that occurs, the employer will have the opportunity to explain any perceived inconsistencies. If there have been material changes to the foreign worker's job or conditions of employment since the approval of the petition, the employer may need to file an amendment with USCIS.
What This Means for Employers
Your organization should make sure it is prepared for an FDNS site visit. A point person should be designated at each worksite where a sponsored foreign national is employed. Receptionists and security personnel should be instructed about receiving FDNS officers. Foreign nationals and their managers should also be advised of the possibility of a site inspection and what to expect.
Make sure to review Fragomen's detailed FAQ about FDNS worksite inspections. If you have any questions, please contact your designated Fragomen professional. This alert is for informational purposes only.