Mark A Ivener, A Law Corporation

USCIS Estimates 21 Percent of H-1B Cases Involve Fraud or Technical Violations

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Office of Fraud Detection and National Security, a division of the National Security and Records Verification Directorate, collaborated with other USCIS components on a new report, “H-1B Benefit Fraud & Compliance Assessment,” released in September 2008. The report estimates that about one in every five H-1B cases involves either fraud or a technical violation.

There were a total of 51 cases within the sample of 246 H-1B petitions that USCIS said represented either fraud, a technical violation, or multiple technical violations. USCIS said the cases reviewed constituted “a statistically valid random sampling of pending and completed cases over a recent six-month period.” The agency noted that “not all violations will rise to the level that would warrant a criminal investigation or prosecution,” and that the “vulnerabilities and abuses” identified “need not lead to a criminal investigation and/or prosecution in order to be reported for [Benefit Fraud and Compliance Assessment] purposes since systemic vulnerabilities ultimately may contribute to higher rates of successful fraudulent filings.” USCIS used the “overall violation rate” of 20.7 percent to extrapolate an estimate of approximately 20,000 petitions nationwide that “may have some type of fraud or technical violation(s).”

USCIS also identified “primary fraud or technical violation indicators,” including:

  1. Firms with 25 or fewer employees have higher rates of fraud or technical violation(s) than larger-sized companies.
  2. Firms with an annual gross income of less than $10 million have higher rates of fraud or technical violations than firms with an annual gross income greater than $10 million.
  3. Firms in existence less than 10 years have higher incidences of fraud or technical violations than firms with an annual gross income greater than $10 million.
  4. The results indicate that H-1B petitions filed for accounting, human resources, business analysts, sales, and advertising occupations are more likely to contain fraud or technical violations than other occupational categories.
  5. Beneficiaries with only bachelor’s degrees had higher fraud or technical violation rates than did those with graduate degrees.

USCIS concluded that the results of this study “have established a 21% baseline fraud and technical violation(s) rate for H-1B petitions. Given the significant vulnerability, USCIS is making procedural changes, which will be described in a forthcoming document.”

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Mark A. Ivener, A Law Corporation, a nationally recognized law firm, has successfully assisted hundreds of clients in immigration matters.