On April 24, 2014, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) held a teleconference regarding the implementation of L-1A site visits for intra-company transferee managers and executives. As we reported, earlier this year, USCIS announced that it plans to conduct worksite inspection visits of L-1 employers as part of its Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) Division’s Site Inspection Program. Nonetheless, during the teleconference, USCIS said that the businesses that are selected for an L-1A site visit are chosen at random, and that they are not based on suspicions of fraud.
Moreover, all L-1A extensions are included in the pool of businesses subject to a site visit, not just new offices. Rather, it is the filing of a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with USCIS that triggers a possible L-1A site visit. USCIS also said during the call that the inspection program is currently being phased in and that it may also be extended to initial petitions and/or L-1B visas in the future.
During the L-1A site visit, inspection officers cannot withdraw, approve, deny, or re-adjudicate a petition, nor can they make a finding of fraud. They can, however, submit the site visit findings regarding compliance with L regulations to the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) for further review.
USCIS reminded employers that they should be prepared to provide all documents submitted with the original L-1A petition.
During the site visit, the inspection officer will be looking to confirm information included in the applicable L-1A petition, including:
- Whether the facility is the same as the one identified in the petition;
- Whether the inspector made contact with the signatory of the petition or a manager who could verify information regarding the petition;
- Whether the information in the petition is viable;
- Whether applicable documents were produced;
- Whether the inspector was able to interview the foreign national who is the subject of the L-1A petition;
- Whether the petition signatory or a manager had knowledge of the originally filed petition;
- Whether the inspector found the foreign national beneficiary working for the facility cited in the petition;
- Whether the foreign national beneficiary was knowledgeable, forthcoming, and cooperative;
- Whether the foreign national beneficiary is being compensated with the salary indicated in the L-1A petition; and
- Whether the foreign national beneficiary is performing the duties indicated in the petition.
Employers who are subject to a L-1A site visit are allowed to have an attorney present for the inspection, but inspection officers are not required to wait for attorneys to show up before conducting the inspection. According to the USCIS, the petitioner can request that the inspection be stopped at any time, and the inspection report will be created based on information obtained up to that point and through other independent investigation methods. A request to stop the investigation will not automatically result in an “unverified” conclusion on the report, however.
Contact an Employment Immigration Lawyer
If you would like more information about L-1 visa petition or the L-1A site visit program, contact the Chicago employment immigration attorneys at Shapiro Law Group at (847) 564-0712. With more than 30 years of experience helping clients with their visa and immigration needs, we can help you file your L-1 visa petition and advise you about what to expect during an L-1A site visit.