U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced certain measures against H-1B visa fraud. Startling warnings have been issued to companies that look to bring in foreign workers through the H-1B visa program, one of the most prominent guest-worker programs. Such U.S. companies have been directed to first look for American workers to fill those vacant positions before they hire people from foreign countries.
The H-1B work visa program should be used by U.S. employers to hire skilled workers from foreign countries when they are unable to find suitable workers in the U.S. to fill the vacant positions. But U.S. companies are found to abuse the program. Though there are qualified Americans who are willing to work in these fields and are available to fill vacant positions, employers bring workers from abroad. This negatively affects Americans by decreasing job opportunities and wages.
Priority for the USCIS is now to protect American workers and combat H-1B visa fraud. USCIS will now visit job sites that hire foreign workers more often. Likewise, investigations of employers who use the H-1B visa program will increase. The government believes that these new measures will help prosecute those who violate the program and make sure American workers are considered before workers from foreign countries are hired.
According to the USCIS, one cannot get an H-1B visa by being a simple computer programmer or an entry level computer programmer. This position will no longer be considered as a speciality occupation. Companies in the U.S. applying for H-1B visas for foreign computer programmers must submit additional evidence proving that the vacant positions are complex and that they require people who hold professional degrees.
USCIS has also made it easy for people to report fraud or abuse of this work visa program and has launched an email helpline. Anyone who suspects H-1B visa fraud or abuse, can contact the USCIS at ReportH1BAbuse@uscis.dhs.gov with the name and address of the employer, describing suspected fraud or abuse of the program that would help the USCIS to investigate. The new H-1B visa guidelines that the USCIS has published now will apply to the H-1B visa application season that began on April 3, 2017 for fiscal year 2018.