The Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate created and implemented the Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program in July 2009 as part of its ongoing enhancement to the integrity of the immigration benefit process. Under the Verification Program, Inspectors conduct unannounced pre- and post-adjudication site visits to verify information contained in certain visa petitions.
Recently, there has been increasing talk about USCIS Inspectors performing unannounced workplace visits to L-1 employer worksites. It is expected that unannounced workplace visits will increase in number and frequency this year.
Inspectors may perform any of the following tasks at worksite visits:
- Verify the information submitted with the petition, including supporting documentation submitted by the petitioner, based on a checklist prepared by USCIS
- Verify the existence of a petitioning entity
- Take digital photographs
- Review documents
- Speak with organizational representatives to confirm the beneficiary's work location, employment workspace, hours, salary and duties
When an Inspector appears unannounced, the receptionist should notify the designated company representative and lead him to an unoccupied conference room. The designated company representative should request for identification and a business card. Before providing any information or answering any questions, the designated company representative should notify the Inspector that his/her credentials will be verified and that the company requests counsel to be present during the investigation. Once the Employer has verified the credentials, the Employer should immediately call its attorney. Often if an attorney cannot attend in person, he or she can attend over the phone, or ask the Inspector to reschedule the visit.
USCIS provides Employers and their representatives of record (if any) an opportunity to review and address the information before denying or revoking an approved petition based on information obtained during a site inspection. However, as is always the case when dealing with USCIS, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Employers should speak to their attorney to make sure that your L-1 worksite is in compliance before receiving a workplace visit. Employers that have not already done so should take the time to develop a response plan in the event of a U.S. government agency audit or investigation Additionally, Employers should contact their attorney as soon as they are notified that an inspector will be or is conducting a site visit.
Kuck Immigration Partners has assisted companies with prior onsite investigations, and can assist companies with planning for, and responding to, sudden inspections made under the Verification Program. For a list of things that you should consider as proactive measures, please contact Charles Kuck directly at email@example.com.