Visa Fraud and Abuse Can Have Serious Consequences

Many employers who hire foreign nationals to work in the U.S. sat up and took notice when Infosys, the giant Indian technology outsourcing company, agreed to pay $34 million in a civil settlement in 2013. The New York Times, among other media outlets, reported that after a two-year investigation, federal prosecutors in Texas found Infosys had committed “systemic visa fraud and abuse” when bringing temporary workers from India for jobs in American businesses. The payment is the largest ever in a visa case.

The federal government takes protecting U.S. workers, and the rights of foreign workers on U.S. soil, very seriously. So when your immigration lawyer starts to talk compliance, it really is in the best interest of companies to be open to the guidance provided. All employers have immigration-related compliance obligations – even those that do not employ foreign nationals – and the penalties for noncompliance with these regulations and visa fraud can be harsh.

Whether you employ foreign workers in the U.S. or not, businesses have the obligation and requirement to verify employment authorization of ALL employees. Businesses are also forbidden from discriminating against certain individuals in their hiring practices. If you DO employ foreign workers, you may have additional compliance issues related to documents that must be submitted, regularly updated if certain conditions of employment change, and maintained for very specific periods of time.

Penalties for noncompliance in hiring foreign workers can result in prison time for company officials, civil fines up to $16,000 per worker, forfeiture of assets, suspension of a company from being able to request certain immigration benefits for employees and more.

While staying on top of compliance issues as they relate to immigration can require an investment in your time, the benefits of remaining compliant far outweigh the potential penalties for noncompliance. Following are a number of articles we’ve posted in the past that are still relevant today:

H-1B Compliance Counts – Be Informed!

With the federal government’s fiscal year starting October 1, many employers have now brought their new H-1B workers into the corporate fold. However, are you as informed as you should be regarding H-1B compliance issues? Here are some common “Facts and Fictions” that you should be aware of …

Understanding Form I-129 Export Control Compliance Section

If you are an employer who has previously filed an Application for Nonimmigrant Worker, on behalf of a foreign national you wished to employ in H-1, L-1 or O-1A status, you have probably struggled with how to respond to the dreaded Form I-129 Export Control Compliance section of that form.

Spring Cleaning During H-1B Cap Season

If your company will be sponsoring any individuals for H-1B visas, now is a good time to review compliance in your immigration-related matters, specifically with Department of Labor (DOL) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) filings.

If you have questions or concerns related to visa fraud and other immigration matters, please contact Berardi Immigration Law today and schedule a consultation!

 

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