If you are somehow connected to the H1b visa program, whether you own or are employed by an IT consulting company, or whether you are a practitioner in the field, you cannot but help notice the increased investigative and prosecutorial efforts brought against such companies. There were 11 arrests recently in New Jersey involving a company called Vision Systems Group, Inc. for visa violations. The allegations include erroneous methodologies in the computation of prevailing wages for H1b workers. Another worthy article involving fraud allegation against small IT companies is what occurred on February 12, 2009 whereby the FBI and Immigration Officers arrested the 2 owners of a company called Worldwide Software, Inc. located in Iowa. The allegations against the aforementioned company owners include "misuse of immigration documents." Even though the American Judicial System assumes one to be innocent until proven otherwise, such recent indictments and media coverage most definitely condemns these companies' future viability. Lou Dobbs has also gone beyond to condemn the entire H1b visa program that it hurts US graduates from getting a job.
I have recently written a blog post relative to the enormous recent USCIS increase of Requests for Evidence (RFE) issuance against smaller IT companies who sponsor H1B visas. These RFEs have a debilitating effect on such smaller IT firms' ability to hire additional H1b visa workers. A second blog post issued by our firm involve a sudden increased in USDOL H1B audits and LCA compliance investigations levied against small IT firms as well. Hence, if you summarize the recent governmental actions against small consulting companies, you come up with the following list:
1. What used to be a paperwork infraction in the H1B program is now being considered a criminal violation.
2. Smaller IT companies are being singled out and challenged by the USCIS in the form of cumulative paperwork inquiries aimed at frustrating their ability to hiring H1b visa workers even though such companies may have documentary proof that they are actively seeking US workers as well. These frustrating efforts come in USCIS issuing extensive requests for additional information seeking irrelevant information such as whether or not the IT Company occupies a building having proper zoning designation, etc.
3. Smaller IT companies have also been the target of increased Department of Labor audits resulting from complaints filed by "credible sources" relative to H1b practices.
These trends have few things in common: 1) most of these companies are information technology consulting firms owned by foreign individuals; 2) in my opinion, most of these alleged violations had occurred since the dawn of the H1B visa program; and 3) the recent increased enforcement activities will have the effect of increasing the legal cost of smaller companies to the point of either their extinction or abandonment of H1b visa sponsorship altogether. So you might ask, what is Uncle Sam really up to? Does Uncle Sam have something against foreign owned IT consulting companies? The logical answer is No. Then what is really going on?