Following the most recent executive order from President Trump, it is more and more apparent that we are entering an era of ever-increasing emphasis on Corporate Immigration Compliance and Enforcement. This will be sure to include additional requests for evidence on petitions, audits and unannounced workplace site-visits by the USCIS Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS).
Here are five pro-active steps U.S. employers can take to ensure they are prepared for this increased scrutiny by USCIS and FDNS:
- Designate in advance which employer representative will handle FDNS site visits – and a back- up in case the primary contact is unavailable.
- Inform other staff members that they are not authorized to answer questions and should refer any investigators to the designated/responsible person – in particular, front desk/reception employees as these are often the first point of contact with an FDNS officer.
- Ensure you are familiar with the contents of petitions filed with USCIS – both prior to filing and following approval. You must be an active participant in the process or risk being on the line for misrepresentations. Ideally, you should have easy access to copies of the petitions so you can re-familiarize yourself in the event of a visit or questions.
- Ensure supervisors of H-1B/L-1 employees know that they must update the primary contact person in the event of ANY changes to terms and conditions of employment – minor changes such as salary increase/some promotions may not require a new petition but changes in location, hours, job duties, can require an amendment to be filed to ensure compliance.
- Conduct an Internal Form I-9 Audit – this deceptively simple form can lead to hefty civil fines and even criminal charges. Better to be pro-active and conduct an internal I-9 audit to identify problems and issues and show good faith efforts to comply before you receive a knock on the door from auditors.
It is critical that U.S. employers are in compliance with all U.S. immigration laws and regulations and are up-to-date regarding USCIS’ most recent policies. Should you wish to consult with a Wolfsdorf attorney to prepare for FDNS site-visits, please contact us at email@example.com or 1-800-VISA-LAW.