Many U.S. employers utilize the H-1B visa program to bring qualified foreign workers with specialized skills to this country in the areas of science, technology, and research, as well as other areas where labor is needed.
However, the U.S. immigration laws cap H-1B visas at 65,000 per year added to the additional 20,000 who have advanced degrees.
As a result, businesses and foreign workers fiercely compete for H-1B visas due to the limited supply available. However, the U.S. government has taken note of a higher increase in registrations, particularly when one worker has multiple entries, which could indicate abuse of the system.
If you are an employer who is considering the option of trying to obtain an H-1B visa for a prospective employee it is crucial that you understand the regulations set in place to avoid a potential lawsuit against you.
How Does H-1B Visa Abuse Occur?
Obtaining H01B visas is completed using a lottery system run by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Using the system, employers register their prospective employees with hopes they will be chosen. However, in some companies the government alleges that some companies are working in tandem with one another to register the same employee. In short, the more registrations an individual has the greater the chances they will be chosen and they can receive a fee.
In some cases, government investigations have determined that some companies acquired H-1B visas to obtain workers they could hire out for profit instead of utilizing them as lawfully intended.
What Are the Consequences if a Company is Suspected of H-1B Visa Abuse?
The USCIS has recently begun investigations into suspected companies to root out fraudulent activity. As a result, many potential H-1B visas have been revoked or denied. In addition, any company that is found to be in violation of federal laws that govern H-1B visas face the potential of criminal prosecution.
Some of the other consequences of H-1B visa fraud include:
- Restricted access in obtaining additional H-1B workers
- Payment of back wages owed to H01B workers
- Civil fines
If you have been accused of H-1B visa abuse, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced immigration law attorney immediately who can advise you of your legal options.
How Can I Protect My Business Against Allegations of H-1B visa Abuse?
One of the easiest ways to protect your business and avoid a potential federal investigation into your company is to ensure you know the rules that accompany employers who utilize H-1B visas. Simply stating you were unaware of the federal laws that govern H-1B visas is not enough to release your company from potential charges.
The following are violations could cause your company to face an investigation and potential criminal charges:
- Filing an H-1B petition when no qualified work is available.
- Filing an H-1B petition for a level one wage for what is actually a non-entry level position.
- Requiring an H-1B employee to repay or pay the filing fee associated with obtaining the visa.
- Benching an H-1B employee without pay.
However, the laws that regulate H-1B visas can be overly complex and challenging to try and understand without the help of an experienced immigration law attorney. Our law office has skilled immigration attorneys who can review your H01B visa policies to ensure compliance.
How Can Your Law Firm Help Me With H-1B Visa Immigration Issues?
If you are an employer who utilizes the H-1B visa system you must be sure that you are abiding by all federal guidelines or risk that possibility of a criminal investigation. Federal investigations can be lengthy and cause your business to have to spend time and money on defense strategies.
Nevertheless, one of the easiest and best ways to avoid an investigation is to ensure that you remain compliant with immigration laws. However, often immigration laws change, leaving employers to unknowingly make errors that could end up with them facing charges.
Therefore, it is always advisable to consult with a highly qualified immigration attorney who can review your company policies and maintain compliance.
If you are unsure whether your company is in adherence to federal H-1B visa regulations, immediately contact SwagatUSA LLC at 773-825-8695.
SwagatUSA LLC is an immigration law firm dedicated to helping individuals and companies with their legal needs and would be honored to help you as well.