An immigration investigation includes more than just a site visit. USCIS selects foreign national visa-holders at random and completes compliance reviews to ensure their petition submission is accurate. Compliance reviews dive into petitioners’ submitted files, public records, and complete other necessary tasks, including site visits, to verify the accuracy of those petitions.
The Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) branch of USCIS began conducting site visits to employers sponsoring foreign nationals with H-1B visas. The purpose of these visits is to verify that the information presented in the visa petitions are accurate and the petitioner is in compliance. Since 2014, the site visit program has expanded to include L-1 visas as well, and recently, high-volume petitioners have been under more scrutiny.
If one of your foreign national employees is under investigation, the worksite of that employee will likely be subject to an unannounced visit from FDNS. While onsite, the site inspector will take photographs, interview the petitioning employee, interview other employees and review documentation. You may be asked to provide payroll records and other documentation, and your employees may be asked to see the inspector for interviews.
How to be prepared for a site visit
If your company sponsors high numbers of foreign national employees under the H-1B or L-1 visas, you should expect to undergo an immigration investigation by USCIS at some point. The best way to prepare for this is to have processes in place so every employee knows his or her role in the case of an unannounced visit from the authorities. The plan should designate who should be contacted upon the arrival of the officer, where the interviews should take place, and how to prepare documentation properly to minimize complications, missing documents, and red flags.
Upon the arrival of an FDNS officer conducting a site visit, you are permitted to contact your attorney to aid in the success of the site visit and are encouraged to do so. Aside from that step, determining other steps to ensure a smooth visit should be planned ahead and widely shared throughout the organization, especially those particular to your company’s situation and preferences. Alignment across worksites is the key to successful immigration investigations and keeping employees calm and in the know.