U.S visa rules have continued to become stricter following the 2016 election of President Trump. His focus on increasing U.S citizen’s employment and economic development has had an effect on immigration policies, specifically on the work visas.
After the signing of the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order, the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) increased their efforts to combat fraud in U.S visas. The USCIS is the non-immigrant and immigrant visa authority and as such takes visa fraud extremely seriously.
In cooperation with the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS), USCIS set up email addresses where people could send information regarding H-1B and H-2B visa fraud or abuse. Anyone who had any information or suspicions could email [email protected] or [email protected] and submit any relevant tips they had.
According to USCIS, since setting up these email addresses last year, they have received around 5,000 tips and complaints on these visas. They did not provide any details over which visa had a higher rate of fraud, the companies involved, or any action taken towards them.
However, they have established a clear protocol on how to deal with this fraud. After receiving complaints, the FDNS officers perform background checks and administrative information on public information or USCIS databases for the companies that the complaints have been on. This might lead to targeted visits to these companies where fraud is suspected to be happening.
The FDNS also conducts thorough data analysis to identify patterns of fraud through their Fraud Detection and National Security Data System (FDNS-DS). The USCIS has also established a partnership with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) wherein ICE performs criminal investigations while USCIS conducts the administrative inquiries into potential fraudulent companies and applicants.
USCIS continues to reiterate that the H-1B visa program is in place to assist U.S companies in increasing their high skilled talent if there is a shortage of U.S workers with those skills. The companies must prove that they could not find a qualified, available, or willing U.S worker for those particular positions and thus they need a foreign worker.
However, USCIS states that there are enough U.S workers who fulfill those conditions but are ignored and thus negatively impacted by the foreign workers. This had led to higher unemployment amongst U.S workers as well as decreasing wages and opportunities.
The H-1B visa was created for high-skilled professionals with specialty occupations who can find a U.S company willing to sponsor them to start work in the U.S. The U.S government set a cap of 65,000 H-1B visas per year with an additional 20,000 visas given to those with higher education and master’s degrees from a U.S academic institution. The H-1B visa is valid for three years with opportunities to renew it for an additional three years and is highly popular amongst Indian technology specialists.
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