We knew compliance was on employers’ minds this year – 87 percent of employers told us so. We teamed up with BLR® to survey 557 employers about their thoughts on immigration management in 2017 and discovered a growing focus on compliance. We were curious about what areas of immigration were the most troubling, so we asked them which U.S. immigration compliance concerns, outside of I-9 worries, bothered them the most.
The responses varied, of course, but some main themes emerged surrounding compliance in 2017:
Maintaining accurate records
More than 40 percent of employers said maintaining accurate records and making sure the information submitted to the government is correct and up to date were their most pressing immigration concerns.
Keeping employee records accurate and up to date can be challenging, but there are some tried and true ways employers can ensure their record-keeping doesn’t put them at risk of noncompliance.
H-1B visa audits
In 2017, 30 percent of employers told us their biggest U.S. immigration compliance concern was being part of an audit by USCIS or the Department of Labor for employees holding H-1B visas.
USCIS performs investigations into H-1B visa petitions that need more information to verify the terms of employment, often as part of Requests For Evidence (RFEs). And, as if in response to employers’ concerns, there was a decided increase – 45 percent – in the number of RFEs issued in 2017 compared to the previous year.
Site visits by USCIS, DOL or ICE were among the top concerns for employers in 2017. 26 percent told us so. And for good reason. Site visits seemed more immanent for companies this year after the Trump administration hired 10,000 new immigration officers.
Whether it’s a visit from ICE, an H-1B or L-1-related visit from USCIS or a visit from DOL officers, site visits can be daunting, especially for organizations without a comprehensive plan in place.
The issue of training employees was a major compliance concern for employers in 2017. 26 percent of respondents told us that training employees on compliance was a focus for them, a clear sign that organizations were concerned about noncompliance and looking to stay in compliance as much as possible.
Global mobility concerns
In our research, we also learned that, on a global scale, employers’ compliance concerns are similar to their concerns with U.S. immigration. 37 percent of employers said that, in 2017, accurate global employee records was their biggest concern.
Thirty percent said training employees on global compliance was a top concern, 27 percent were concerned with international immigration audits, while another 27 percent said their top concern was keeping up with elusive record-keeping requirements in various countries around the world.