The Department of Labor ("DOL") has been actively auditing H-1B employers to ensure that they are in compliance with all H-1B requirements, including requirements relating to Labor Condition Application (LCA) posting, payment of required wages, public examination files and any required non-displacement inquiries. Failures in these areas can result in significant back-pay awards, civil fines, and debarment.
Employers can expect to see increased enforcement in this area by an energized and invigorated DOL under the Obama Administration. The DOL recently hired 250 new investigators that will increase the staff in the division by more than a third. President Obama’s new Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, has asserted that she will aggressively pursue violations stating “there is a new sheriff in town.”
Just as the government has turned to criminal enforcement of I-9 requirements, the government has also begun to pursue criminal enforcement actions against H-1B employers. As just one example, on January 22, 2009, the government filed a ten count criminal indictment against an H-1B consulting company in federal court. The indictment includes charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, and it seeks forfeiture in the amount of $7.4 million. In the indictment, the government alleged that the employer submitted false statements and documents in support of their H-1B visa petitions which were mailed or wired to state and federal agencies. ICE agents arrested 11 individuals in seven states.
We work with employers to develop effective H-1B compliance and limit liability.
Our services include:
- Ensuring that these files are properly maintained in accordance with all Department of Labor regulations.
- Conducting internal audits of LCA files to ascertain and correct any compliance issues.
- Developing procedures and policies to insure full compliance with all relevant regulations and thereby limit any liability.
- Training human resources personnel and in-house counsel on the proper completion and retention of H-1B LCAs.
- Providing full representation to employers facing LCA audits and investigations.