Getting an H1-B visa to get harder as US announces new anti-fraud measures

USCIS has said that US companies are shirking their responsibility to hire local workers

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The US on Monday announced multiple measures to “deter and detect” what it described as “fraud and abuse” of H-1B work visas, the most sought after by Indian IT firms and professionals.

The announcement by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) comes on a day on which the federal agency started accepting applications for H-1B visas for the financial year beginning October 1, 2017.

The USCIS announcement indicated that the US government is going to be tough and stringent in approval of H-1B visas this year.

The USCIS has a Congressional mandate to issue 65,000 H-1B visas in general category and another 20,000 for those applicants having higher education – masters and above — from US universities in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Asserting that its multiple measures announced on Monday will further “deter and detect H-1B visa fraud and abuse”, the USCIS said the H-1B visa programme should help US companies recruit highly-skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country.

“Yet, too many American workers who are as qualified, willing and deserving to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged. Protecting American workers by combating fraud in our employment-based immigration programmes is a priority for the USCIS,” a statement said.

The USCIS also announced the launch of a email helpline against abuse and fraud of H-1B visas. The USCIS will now onwards take a more targeted approach when making site visits across the country to H-1B petitioners and the work sites of H-1B employees.

The USCIS will focus on cases where it cannot validate the employer’s basic business information through commercially available data; H-1B-dependent employers (those who have a high ratio of H-1B workers as compared to US workers, as defined by statute); and employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company or organisation’s location. (readmore…)

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