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USCIS, DOJ pledge to crack down on H-1B visa fraud

Sports fans are going to hear the phrase "going, going, gone" ad nauseam over the next six months given that the Major League Baseball season is officially here. Interestingly enough, this well-worn broadcaster's expression could just as easily been applied to an H-1B visa as it could a homerun last week.

That's because the submission period for H-1B visa applications, which opened last Monday, closed by Friday morning, marking the fifth consecutive year that the 85,000 visa cap was reached in less than a week. 

While U.S. Customs and Immigration Services has yet to announce how many petitions were submitted for H-1B visas in 2018, it's likely that it will be close to -- or even surpass -- the 236,000 submitted last year thereby necessitating a lottery.

As it turns out, this wasn't the only H-1B-related news for the week, however, as both USCIS and the Department of Justice announced enhanced enforcement measures to ensure employers were complying with the requirements governing the highly sought after work visa.

While USCIS has been conducting random site visits since 2009, it indicated that it will now be taking a "more targeted approach" by focusing on those employers that are especially reliant on H-1B visas, including:

  • Companies with a workforce comprised of at least 15 percent H-1B employees
  • Companies with H-1B visa employees who work offsite for other companies  
  • Companies with H-1B visa employees who have little business information posted online

As for the DOJ, it warned that it will be taking steps to ensure that employers are not using the H-1B visa as a means to illegally discriminate against American workers, including setting up a hotline for concerned parties and "wholeheartedly" investigating and prosecuting wrongful conduct.

These are likely the first of many steps that the Trump administration will take regarding the H-1B visa, which it has identified as a major immigration priority.

Stay tuned for updates …

If you have questions or concerns regarding immigration matters relating to either employment or investment, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional.

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