On June 28, 2018, Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman Julie Kirchner published her most recent annual report to Congress, revealing USCIS’ intensified anti-fraud initiatives as well as confirming processing delays for multiple applications.
The Ombudsman’s Office is an independent entity, created by Congress, designed to recommend policy changes to the citizenship and immigration process as well as aide individuals who are going through it.
Targeted Anti-Fraud Initiatives Emphasizing Site Visits
In 2017, the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) transitioned to a “risk-based” anti-fraud model. This means that in recent months, FDNS has placed a larger emphasis on site visits to companies and employers who have been classified as potential fraud risks under their new Targeted Site Visit and Verification Program. According to the USCIS website, the criteria that indicate a higher risk of fraud include:
- “H-1B-dependent employers (those who have a high ratio of H-1B workers as compared to U.S. workers, as defined by statute);
- Cases where we cannot validate the employer’s basic business information through commercially available data; and
- Employers petitioning for H-1B workers who work off-site at another company or organization’s location.”
These more targeted visits come in addition to the random site visits typically performed by FDNS. The application types subject to site visits include: H-1B, L-1A, AND L-1B.
Furthermore, in support of this initiative, FDNS has more than doubled its staff, going from 756 positions in FY 2012 to 1,548 Positions in FY 2018.
Finally, the report notes that the USCIS ought to make the transition to fully digital with regards to case management, as this would also greatly benefit the anti-fraud initiative.