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Site Inspections at the E-3 Employer’s Office: What to Expect from a Site Inspector (SI)
Now, more than ever, companies that employE-3 and H1b and/or L-1 workers must be prepared for a surprise visit from the USCIS.
The prospect of playing unexpected host to a government representative may send chills up the spines of many employers, but it doesn't have to. First, read the overview—below. Then feel free to set up a consultation with www.immigrationbureau.com lead immigration attorney David E. Yurkofsky who can help make sure you're ready to welcome the US Immigration Officer or US Dept. of Labor representative into your workplace with open arms.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) continues efforts to ensure employers are E-3 and H1b compliant including visiting the worksites of selected E-3 and H1b foreign nationals. These site visits are generally chosen at random and are unannounced, meaning that E-3 and H1b employers and employees should be prepared for such potential visits, and have an idea of what to expect.
Site inspectors (SI) should have proper identification and USCIS credentials, and should show these to the employer. Employers should always ask for the identification of any persons claiming to be acting on behalf of the government. The SI will want to speak with the E-3 and H1b petitioner (the individual who signed the E-3 and H1b petition). If s/he is not available, the SI will seek out an appropriate alternative individual, who has authority within the company.
Employers should discuss the possibility of such visits with their human resources (HR) or other appropriate personnel. If an employer wishes to have an attorney present, the inspector should be informed and additional time requested, if needed.
The inspector will look at the public aspects of the employer’s premises to determine if the address on the petition appears to be that of the petitioning organization. The signage will be examined for the name of the business. Neighboring businesses or residents may be asked to verify the location and existence of the business. The type of premises will be noted, and photographs may be taken.
With permission from an organizational representative, the SI will tour the facilities. The purpose is to determine if the business appears to be legitimate and engaged in appropriate business activities.
The SI will ask the selected company representative general questions about an E-3 and H1b foreign national. These questions will cover information taken from the E-3 and H1b petition and will include details of the position, duties, and terms of employment.
The SI will attempt to verify whether the beneficiary is currently employed by the E-3 and H1b sponsor. If the individual is employed with the company, the USCIS will ask for proof. If the individual is not employed by the company, the USCIS may inquire as to whether the employer has information about the foreign national’s location and current employment. This is one of several reasons it is important for E-3 and H1b employers to properly document employment terminations. Please note, employers are not responsible under the law for tracking their former employees following proper termination.
The SI may also request to examine the public access files. Although the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has jurisdiction over ensuring these files are properly maintained, the USCIS does have the right to inspect them as these files are required to be available to members of the public.
The SI will want to speak to the E-3 and/or H1b beneficiary, who will be asked to show his/her identification. The purpose of this discussion is to determine if the E-3 or H1b beneficiary’s employment is consistent with the terms and conditions in the E-3 or H1b petition. The E-3 or H1b beneficiary will be expected to speak knowledgeably about her/his position and employment. There may be questions regarding the foreign national’s educational background.
As part of the inspection process, the SI will attempt to verify whether the E-3 and H1b employee is being paid the required salary, and performing the employment duties set forth in the E-3 or H1b application, including the LCA and the Petitioner’s letter. After the SI’s report, a recommendation will be made regarding whether further inquiry is appropriate. The recommendation will have to be explained in the report.
Employers should anticipate and prepare this type of site inspection before an SI arrives. A policy and protocol should be in place for such site inspections. Appropriate employees need to be aware of this inspection program. To the extent that such inspections may cause alarm among employees who are not involved, some discussion or explanation may be advisable beforehand. Administrative site visits of this type generally are random. They are not an indication that a company has engaged in wrongdoing. Company representatives may wish to discuss matters related to these inspections with a knowledgeable attorney at immigratoinbureau.com -- the Immigration Law Office of David E. Yurkofsky.