USCIS to Increase Audits and Visits in Coming Months

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has implemented a new policy that will increase the amount of visits or audits to visa petitioners. These random visits/audits will be based on one of the following three reasons: (1) USCIS Fraud Profiles, (2) FBI Initiatives, or (3) I-9 Audits. The USCIS is currently planning to develop a fraud profile by application type; if any applicant falls within the profile’s definition of presumptive misrepresentation, they will be subject to a full investigation.

(1) USCIS Fraud Profiles: Audits/Visits based on the fraud profile will be carried out by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unit. The first two visa petitions subject to this inquiry will be the I-129 and I-360 visa petitions. ICE plans to broaden this focus within one year.

(2) FBI Initiatives: While regulations previously only allowed the FBI to enact audits and visits when incidences were criminal in nature, new regulations passed by the Attorney General now allow the FBI to arrest individuals without a warrant when they believe these individuals are violating immigration laws. This FBI initiative will first focus on H-1B visa petitioners, specifically from Muslim-dominated regions of the former Soviet Union and Middle Eastern countries engaged in the IT, health and bio-professions.

(3) I-9 Audits: I-9 Audits, utilized as a pretense to learn more facts about targets of audits, have become much more common in recent months. The USCIS has used these audits to focus on employees at airports (restaurants, hotels, kiosks, etc.) and at landmark buildings and locations. These audits have been intensive and have led to hefty fines for employers.

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