Don't worry if it's not. We are here to enhance your awareness about FDNS and keep you audit-ready.
With an increase in immigration, the US has also witnessed an increase in the misuse of their immigration laws. So, USCIS set up an office named Fraud Detection & National Security (FDNS) in 2004 (which later became a Directorate in 2010) to ensure the immigration compliance of organizations.
FDNS conducts random site visits to organizations and collects information about the organization and its employees. The main objective of FDNS is to detect and eliminate fraud from the immigration process.
It should be noted that FDNS site visits are generally related to H-1B and L-1 petitions and are different from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audits of your Form I-9s.
An officer from the FDNS may visit your organization with or without any prior information. The officer will verify the details of your organization presented in the visa petition before the site visit.
FDNS site visits are to confirm whether a foreign national is working at the listed location, doing the work described in the petition, earning the salary indicated in the petition, hold the educational qualifications defined in the petition, and so on. In other words, FDNS site visits determine whether the petition filing was valid and the beneficiary is being employed in a manner and under conditions consistent with that filing.
According to USCIS, the primary tasks of an FDNS officer during a site visit can be as follows:
The site visit would usually last for thirty minutes or more during which the officer would document all the information provided. The documented information would be reviewed to verify that all the information provided is accurate and is not subjected to any misuse. FDNS uses this information to assist USCIS with developing a fraud detection database.
At times, the FDNS officers could also ask you to email your employees’ documents like the copies of the last three pay stubs and latest Form W-2, beneficiary’s current job title and duties, beneficiary’s present work location along with a copy of the LCA for that location (if the location has changed), or a letter from the end client attesting to the beneficiary’s employment at the site (if the beneficiary is working for an end client).However, you need to verify that the email address and the identity of the officer are legitimate as there have been incidents of scam. You have to make sure that the communication is made with the officer’s official USCIS email address.
After completion of the inspection, the officer will submit a Compliance Review report to the corresponding supervisor with all the documented information. USCIS reviews this report for any indicators of fraud or noncompliance. FDNS could refer the case to U.S. ICE for criminal investigation.
A NOIR (Notice of Intent to Revoke)may be issued to the employer if USCIS comes across any discrepancies in the data submitted.
Preparing your organization for these random site visits is of utmost importance. Here are a few tips for you:
The supporting documents that an officer may ask during a site visit include a copy of the approved H-1B/L1petition, payroll records or pay stubs of the employee, and the certified LCA.
Many employers find it hard to handle these random FDNS site visits as there is no awareness of the questions that could be posed. So, they approach their attorneys for assistance. But there are certain cases where attorneys panic during these visits, hence resulting in discrepancies in the information provided to the officer.
It is then a software like OnBlick comes into the picture. OnBlick digitizes all the employee and organizational documents, hence making these accessible with just a few clicks. It instantaneously creates and saves Public Access Files for every LCA uploaded. The best part about OnBlick is that it maintains all the documentation related to your nonimmigrant workers under one system. You no longer need to panic or worry about finding all the supporting documents when an FDNS site visit happens. OnBlick provides a questionnaire that prepares you for the FDNS site visits and helps avoid revocation possibilities.
FDNS site visits could happen anytime, but you don’t need to worry since your compliance is OnBlick’s assurance.
Click on the link below to download "Do's and Don'ts during an FDNS site visit