What Should a H1B Employee Expect During a USCIS Site Visit?
The Trump administration just announced raids in nine major cities wherein undocumented immigrants will be rounded up and deported with immediate effect. Anyone not having valid paperwork, sufficient identity or legal authority to reside in the US will be checked by ICE officials. While this is being implemented by ICE for undocumented immigrants, legal immigrants especially H1B and L visa holders too, will be facing similar site visits from USCIS officials under the Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program (ASVVP).
Employers who are foreign-workforce dependent should anticipate these targeted site visits. USCIS recently released a data-hub with information on such employers. Another target will be employers who have team-members who work at off-site locations and may not be available at the employers’ main office. Both employers and employees should be vigilant about these visits and prepare a clean game-plan in the event USCIS officers make a visit.
What to Expect During a Site Visit?
- Increased Frequency of Site Visits: With additional staff added under USCIS specifically for these site visits, H1B and L visa holders should anticipate more compliance visits.
- Fraud Detection: Since the main purpose is to identify and evaluate fraudulent petitioners, all documentation should be compliant and valid. Anyone requiring responses to Request for Evidences (RFEs) should have receipts reflecting action taken, extensions applied for and all current paperwork up-to-date. Employers with pending petitions among its employers should be extra vigilant.
- Required Documentation During Site Visits: All documentation pertaining to employees’ job duties, work-hours broken up to reflect percentage distribution of time applied to each task, work location and salary should be readily made available. Employers should educate their employees as to which of their personal documents come under the orbit of such inspections.
- Timing of Site Visits: USCIS officers come unannounced and therefore, all H1B and L visa holders should be prepared at all times with answers, legal paperwork as well as the required amount of training to answer these efficiently and to the point.
- Contact Team: Employers, in anticipation of such visits should have an available team ready to meet these USCIS visiting Officers. This should include staff from the front-end, HR representatives, company’s legal counsel, if available as well as the said H1B and L visa employees who are trained accordingly.
- Off-site Employees: For employees who may be unavailable onsite and may have to work at a client site at the time of the site visit, employers should have sufficient documentation justifying employee-employer relationship. All oversite should be done by the petitioning employer and not the client. Reasons for being offsite and the work involved offsite should be well documented.
What Can You Expect To Be Asked During a Site Visit?
Keep up with the changes to H1B processes here