12 Days of Compliance: All About Public Access Files

December 19, 2017 Chelsea Iversen


Envoy teamed up with BLR® recently to take the pulse among employers, and we learned a lot about public access files and how organizations are handling them.

If you’re a sponsor of H-1B, H-1B1 or E-3 visa-holding employees, you’re responsible for creating and keeping associated public access files for every sponsored employee. The day after you file your labor condition application (LCA) you are required to make public access files available for public viewing upon request.

One surprising statistic is that almost half of employers think they are compliantly managing their public access files (whether they’re physical or digital), even though only 32 percent audit them regularly.

Here’s some more of what we found out and some tips for staying compliant:

Choose physical vs. digital files

choose physical vs. digital files

19 percent of employers use physical public access files, while 16 percent store them digitally. We expect to see the number of digital PAFs increase over the coming months and years, since the Department of Labor allowed digital PAFs in 2017.

Pro tip: Use technology that allows you to easily assemble and audit your public access files regularly, sends you notifications, provides action items and lets you see all your PAFs in once place. Bonus tip: Envoy technology can help with that.

Create compliant public access files

create compliant PAFs

Only 17 percent of employers said they were “very confident” in managing public access files and confusion with PAFs often begins with what to include when you’re creating one.

You’ll need to include what you’re paying your H-1B worker, a copy of your certified LCA, prevailing wage, a summary of benefits and other documentation. The documentation you need to include could be different than others’, depending on your particular organization.

Pro tip: Use this handy checklist to help you create compliant public access files.

Manage public access files correctly

store PAFs correctly

Beyond creating public access files that would stand up to an audit from the authorities, storage of your PAFs also plays a role in H-1B compliance. To be successful, there should be a designated person assigned to auditing those public access files, and you should always be prepared in case of an audit.

Pro tip: Each PAF has to be kept for one year beyond the duration of the employment period. Once the year is up, it’s recommended that employers shred these PAFs to avoid liability.

To learn more about public access files issues and other recent trends, take a look at our Changing Landscape of Immigration Management report.


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