January 15, 2010

Alert for H-1B Employees – Be Prepared for Surprise Visits to Your Worksite!

Those working with H-1B visas need to be aware that the USCIS is conducting approximately 25,000 random worksite visits to verify that the H-1B employee is actually employed with the sponsoring employer as described in the H-1B petition. Many of our clients employed by both large and small employers have already experienced these unannounced visits. It’s important that you and your employer are ready for these visits which usually include an interview with your employer’s representative, an interview with you, and a tour of the work facility. Here are five steps you should take to prepare for and respond to a surprise visit to your workplace:

1.Review the H-1B petition filed by your employer to make sure your work locations, title, job duties, and wages are listed correctly. If not, contact your employer and lawyer immediately for further advice.

2. Have your attorney’s number available so you can call her immediately, before you begin your interview with the investigator. You are entitled to have your attorney present by phone or in person.

3. If you work at a location not controlled by your employer, contact the facility representative to let them know about the possibility of a site visit and advise them to contact you and your employer immediately in case of a surprise visit.

4. Ask your employer to contact the attorney who prepared the H-1B petition to help with a self-audit of their H-1B compliance files which are required for all employers.

5. Schedule a mock interview with your employer and attorney to prepare for a possible site visit so you can feel more comfortable if it happens.