As leading Columbus, Ohio Immigration Lawyers, we are proud to be the first to announce that officers from the Department of State Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) are now making phone calls to H-1B visa employers. These calls are intended to corroborate information given in H-1B visa petitions with the employer themselves. Lawyers in Columbus, Ohio as well as around the nation are reporting that such phone calls are being made directly to H-1B petitioners even in instances where the petitioner is represented by an attorney. Recently, the US Department of State (DOS) has clarified some of the reasoning behind these phone calls
Why am I being Called by the Kentucky Consular Center?
The DOS has stated that officers from the Kentucky Consular Center will usually only call in a support role to the US Consulates around the world. When H-1B visas are adjudicated by consular processing, time and distance limits the amount of investigation that a consular post on the other side of the world can undertake when it has questions regarding the accuracy of H-1B documentation presented at the consular post. The DOS claims that such call can result in more rapid adjudications and may help to avoid unnecessary returns by foreign nationals to the consulate.
I filed a G-28, Shouldn’t you be talking to my Immigration Lawyer Instead?
Under most circumstances the DOS must notify the attorney of record when it contacts a person or entity that is represented in a particular immigration matter. The Immigration Form G-28 is the document that signals to the DOS and the USCIS that a party is represented by counsel. However, the DOS has made an important designation between normal practice and the new practice of making phone calls to employers.
Specifically, the DOS is required to notify the attorney on record in matters that involve the status of an alien or of actions that the DOS will be taking in connection with an alien’s case. What these phone calls are intended to do is to root out fraud. Investigating for fraud is designated as an investigation and in such cases no sharing of information is given to the attorney in advance or contemporaneously.
What should I do if I receive a call from the Kentucky Service Center?
Those H-1B visa petitioners that receive a phone call from the KCC can assume that they are being investigated for fraud. At such a point, there is a decision to be made. First, the petitioner can co-operate with the KCC and provide the information that is requested. This is the most desirable option as satisfactory answers will reduce further inquiry and hopefully result in the H-1B visa being approved at the consulate. The other option is to be uncooperative and not reply to the questions asked. This could have un-desirable consequences on the petition and the company as the DOS, the USCIS and the Department of Labor may take it upon themselves to investigate the matters of a company further.
It is best to be prepared. This means that a person or persons within the company should have a working knowledge of the wage, location of employment and other working conditions of the employee petitioned for. This person should also have a copy of the H-1B petition within access as a reference. Call from the KCC should be directed to only knowledgeable persons within the company. Such persons should answer the questions asked politely and directly. However such persons should limit their answer to the immediate question asked of them. Finally, the petitioner’s lawyer should be contacted immediately upon receiving such an inquiry from the KCC.
How to Contact Us
Our firm has many years of experience in responding to inquiry’s from the US Department of State in visa related matters. If you have questions about an immigration visa or green card matter, and/or you need help in an immigration process, please contact our immigration attorneys or call The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates Co., LPA at the nearest office close to you to consult with an attorney. Our law firm handles various matters including Green Cards and Permanent Residence, family immigration, immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas, employment visas and H1B visas, Investor Visas, PERM applications, and many more. Please contact us and experience how our law firm can assist you in your immigration matters. Whether you are an employer, an employee or a family member, The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA has competent, responsive and innovative lawyers who can make your immigration experience pleasant and seamless.