DOL and other Immigration Agency Investigations
The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) has been delegated authority to enforce certain provisions of the H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 worker programs. In particular, the WHD’s role is to protect similarly employed U.S. workers from being adversely affected by the employment of nonimmigrant workers, as well as to protect nonimmigrant workers. In order to ensure this objective is met, the WHD has discretion to initiate investigations of H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 employers to ensure that workers are receiving the wages and working under the terms of employment as specified on the Labor Condition Application (LCA) that accompanies the petition when filed with USCIS.
WHD may initiate H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3-related investigations as a result of complaints (by employees or the public) or the agency may self-initiate investigations. Immigration-related violations found during the course of a WHD investigation can potentially leave employers with civil penalties as well as other remedies including payment of back wages to the nonimmigrant worker as well as negative media attention. Employers can even be barred from access to the H-1B, H-1B1, and E-3 programs or other immigrant programs in certain instances depending upon the severity of the violation(s).
If your company employs H-1B, H-1B1, and/or E-3 workers, you are at potential risk for WHD immigration investigations. At TSM, we can audit your LCA records (and public access files) to ensure the DOL’s record keeping requirements are satisfied. We can also assist you in developing best practices to ensure ongoing compliance and efficiency. This includes situations where you are, or use the services of, a contracting/staff agency. Moreover, in the event your company has already been notified of an investigation, our team can represent your company in its communications with DOL to ensure that your best interests are protected.
If you employ foreign national employees who are sponsored for immigration benefits, you are at risk for a USCIS investigation. Now, more than ever, it is important to read everything that you are signing when filing any immigration paperwork. An employer (and employee) is confirming, with their signature, they have read the forms and that the information provided is true and accurate. In addition, an employer agrees to site visits to confirm any/all information provided. As such, it is common for USCIS to conduct site visits on approved and pending cases. These can be random spot checks for compliance or based on investigations into the company or employee. These site visits are usually through FDNS- the Fraud Detection and National Security division. Failure to cooperate or to provide appropriate responses may lead to cases being denied or revoked or additional penalties placed on employers. TSM can assist employers in setting up protocols for these site visits, be available by phone or in person during these visits, and assist in responding to follow-ups requests for additional information (usually in the form of a Notice of Intent to Revoke or Deny).
Other Government Investigations
There are multiple agencies involved directly or indirectly with immigration matters. Due to information sharing, an investigation by one government agency unrelated to immigration may become related. TSM is also available to assist with other government investigations that may arise in the immigration context including those from Department of Justice, Department of State, Customs and Border Protection, and others.