The DOL has recently announced that the USCIS has agreed to start sharing data with the DOL regarding potential LCA violations that are detected as part of a non-immigrant or immigrant petition filing. For example, if an H-1b worker is transferring her H-1b petition from Co. A to Co. B and the last pay-stubs presented are not current, there may be a failure to pay the required wage violation which the USCIS would refer to the DOL for potential investigation. For employers following the rules and paying all wages required and at the correct level, this is good news as increased enforcement may level the playing field from those cos. that are not in compliance.
The USCIS recently issued a revised version of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification Form. This form must be used beginning on September 18, 2017. All existing storage and retention rules for Form I-9 must continue to be followed. As you know, employers use the Form I-9 to verify the identity and employment authorization of newly hired employees. In this latest revision, the USCIS modified the List of Acceptable Documents to include adding to List C the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (Form FS-240), combined all certifications of report of birth issued by the U.S. Department of State (Forms, FS-545, DS-1350 and FS-240) into List C, and renumbered all List C documents except the Social Security Card. Additionally, the name of the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices was changed to its new name of Immigrant and Employee Rights Section and removed “the end of” from the phrase “the first day or employment.”
Please contact your HLG attorney if you have any questions about the new form, how to do an internal audit, E-Verify or with any other immigration or employment verification questions.
Infosys, an Indian software development firm, recently reached a $34 million settlement with federal prosecutors in Texas. The U.S. government accused Infosys of bringing employees to perform work in the U.S. on B-1 visas, which allows foreign nationals to enter the U.S. temporarily for business purposes. The U.S. government argued that Infosys should have submitted H-1b petitions for these foreign nationals so that they could validly perform skilled labor jobs. The settlement reached between the federal prosecutors and Infosys was the largest ever levied in an immigration case. According to the settlement, Infosys submitted letters to the U.S. consulate containing false statements regarding the nature of the B-1 visa holders’ trips to the U.S. It may be wise for companies that employ foreign workers to reexamine their immigration practices to ensure that they are in line with federal laws. This settlement also demonstrates that there is a critical need for immigration reform so that U.S. employers can access a sufficient number of visas to meet their business needs.
ICE recently provided some updated data regarding I-9 audits and recents fines against U.S. businesses. 4,000 business have been subject to I-9 investigations since FY 2009 with over $7 million in fines being levied. If you have not audited your I-9 records lately, it may be a good item to add to your task list. For information on how HLG could assist with compliance related matters, please contact Sherry Neal at firstname.lastname@example.org