'American workers first': U.S. announces revised rules to combat H1B visa fraud

New York [U.S.], Apr. 4 (ANI): The United States Government has announced that it will take steps in order to tightene controls over new H1B visa applicants, sending out a reminder that it is closely monitoring the popular work visa.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has said that it would take a "more targeted approach" in site visits to the workplaces of H-1B petitioners, while the Justice Department issued a statement "cautioning" employers petitioning for H-1B visas to not discriminate against American workers.

Both the announcements are bound to deal a crippling blow to outsourcing companies.

"The H-1B visa program should help U.S. companies recruit highly-skilled foreign nationals when there is a shortage of qualified workers in the country. Yet, too many American workers who are as qualified, willing and deserving to work in these fields have been ignored or unfairly disadvantaged. Protecting American workers by combating fraud in our employment-based immigration programs is a priority for USCIS," read the statement by Homeland Security.

Targeted site visits will allow USCIS to focus resources where fraud and abuse of the H-1B program may be more likely to occur, and determine whether H-1B dependent employers are evading their obligation to make a good faith effort to recruit U.S. workers. USCIS will continue random and unannounced visits nationwide.

However, the government has made it clear that the site visits are not meant to target nonimmigrant employees for any kind of criminal or administrative action but rather to identify employers who are abusing the system.

Meanwhile, the Department of Justice has said that it will not tolerate employers misusing the H1B visa process to discriminate against U.S. workers, asserting that American workers should not be placed in a disfavored status, and the department is wholeheartedly committed to investigating and vigorously prosecuting these claims. (ANI)