August 25, 2016
The L-1 visa is a nonimmigrant work visa for managerial or skilled employees, which allows U.S. companies that maintain a qualifying relationship with foreign business entities to transfer workers to the U.S. . Under a traditional L-1 petition application, each petition must be filed with and approved by the USCIS as a precursor to transfer. “Blanket L” petitions allow larger companies to more easily transfer workers to the U.S. more frequently. When a Blanket L approval is obtained, the company and its subsidiaries/affiliates are afforded additional flexibility to transfer eligible employees to the U.S. as they bypass the step of filing the petition with the USCIS.
However, the USCIS is changing the L-1 visa application for those employees who qualify under their company’s Blanket L petition. Beginning on August 29, 2016, the Form I-129S, which is utilized in the visa application process, will contain new information demands and could ultimately hinder the previous quick turnaround in securing an L-1 visa under a Blanket petition. Seen by some as an additional burden to employers, the updated Form I-129S will now require the following:
- Employee’s employment history
- Identification of the applicant’s gender and all names the applicant has ever used
- Listing the percentage of time the person will spend doing job duties on a “daily basis” and the annual wage the person received (in USD)
- Information regarding third-party worksites (if applicable)
- Employer signature declaring that the company has reviewed the petition
- This is a more extensive declaration for the company to attest to and serves as a reminder to the petitioner of the possibility of on-site compliance audits
The Law Offices of Richard A. Gump, Jr., PC is committed to assisting employers with their employment-based immigration matters.
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August 5, 2016
So your company was hit with an ICE audit, you paid the fine, told ICE you would terminate the unauthorized employees, and now you can relax and move on to concentrate on your core business -right? Not so fast.
Did you make sure the person verifying I-9s was trained and is minimizing the risk of hiring more unauthorized workers using fraudulent documents? Did you make sure the unauthorized workers on the Confirmation of Suspect Documents list were in fact terminated? Most importantly, have all your supervisors and management teams been informed of the necessity of avoiding any direct or indirect recruiting or hiring or retaining of unauthorized workers?
Apparently management at Mary’s Gone Crackers, Inc. decided their ICE Settlement Agreement buried the hatchet and they could go about their business. Such blindness is painful. Now they have to pay $1.5 million and institute a compliance program which will be monitored by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for 2 years. Why? After telling ICE that 50 employees who were unauthorized to work had quit or would be fired the company continued to employ one individual and rehired many others all under new names. Homeland Security Investigations got wind of the “continuing to hire” violations and started a criminal investigation. Luckily, the company cooperated and was able to obtain a non-prosecution agreement.
“Our agents are determined to hold those who choose to defraud the system accountable in order to reduce the demand for illegal employment and protect employment opportunities for the nation’s lawful workforce,” HIS Special Agent Ryan L. Spradlin said.
Why subject yourself to such bad publicity, cost and disruption at the workplace? Fraud is worse than the original violations and the likelihood of it being uncovered is great. Your supervisors and managers are representatives of your company and they must get on the bandwagon of risk avoidance by understanding that knowingly hiring or continuing to hire unauthorized workers just is not acceptable, especially after an ICE audit!
Employers are between a rock and a hard place when finding new workers in a tight labor market is difficult but it is far worse to spend time in the penitentiary, go bankrupt, face embarrassing publicity, all the while under the radar of government supervision.
If we can help you audit your verification and hiring practices before, during, or after an ICE audit, we would love to be there for you. Auditing, training, and adopting best practices is good business.
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