Thursday 16 October 2008

Government report shows high rate of fraud in H-1B visas

Business Week has an article highlighting a new study called H-1B Benefit Fraud & Compliance Assessment (15 page pdf) conducted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on fraud in the H-1B visa program. These are visas that allow U.S. employers to employ foreign guest workers in “specialty occupations” - requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge including architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, law, accounting, business specialities, theology, and the arts, and requiring the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent as a minimum. This visa program is widely used by high-tech companies like Microsoft. Based on a sample size of 246 H-1B petitions (out of 96,827 ), 13.4 percent showed fraud and 7.3 percent showed technical violations, for an overall violation rate of 20.7 percent. In other words, about 20,000 petitions may have some type of fraud or technical violations. There was also evidence of payment below the prevailing wage, offers of non-existent jobs, and fraudulent documentation. "'The report makes it clear that the H-1B program is rife with abuse and misuse,' says Ron Hira, assistant professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

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