Things are not going on right direction and after these news they will be strict on H1B applicants from Nepal :-(
Visa Fraud Sparks Arrests Nationwide
An ongoing federal probe into H-1B visa fraud leads to 11 arrests and the indictment of IT services firm Vision Systems Group
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The controversy over the H-1B visa
program for highly skilled workers is heating up once again. Federal
agents detained 11 people in six states as part of a wide investigation
into suspected visa fraud, the U.S. Attorney's office in Iowa announced
on Feb. 12, a day after the arrests. Those arrested are accused of
fraudulently representing themselves or other workers in immigration
Besides the arrests, Vision Systems Group,
an IT services firm based in South Plainfield, N.J., with a branch
office in Coon Rapids, Iowa, was indicted on 10 federal counts,
including conspiracy and mail fraud charges. The firm allegedly used
fraudulent documents to bring H-1B visa workers into the U.S. The
government is seeking the forfeiture of $7.4 million from Vision
Systems that was gained through the alleged offenses. Five other
technology companies, including Worldwide Software Services and Sana
Systems in Clinton, Iowa, remain under investigation for document
fraud, prosecutors said. "We are only at the tip of iceberg as to where
this [investigation] leads," said Matthew G. Whitaker, U.S. Attorney
for the Southern District of Iowa. "We have a ways to go and more
[fraud] to uncover."
Representatives of Vision Systems, Worldwide Software, and Sana
Systems could not be reached for comment after business hours on Feb.
12. Whitaker declined to identify the other three companies being
H-1B Program Under Scrutiny
The coordinated, nationwide enforcement effort began 18 months ago
and continues, officials said. It is the first to specifically address
fraud in the H-1B visa system, which critics say brings lower-cost tech
workers into the U.S., displacing American workers.
rises in the U.S., the H-1B program is drawing scrutiny for its
potential effects on U.S. jobs. In October the U.S. Citizenship &
Immigration Service (USCIS) released a report showing rampant fraud in the H-1B visa program. At the same time, critics say that outsourcing firms, including Infosys Technologies (INFY) and Wipro (WIT),
use H-1B visas to replace U.S. employees with cheaper workers from
abroad, often cycling overseas staff through U.S. training programs
before sending them back home to perform such jobs.
Large U.S. tech companies such as Oracle (ORCL) and Microsoft (MSFT), which want to raise the annual limits on H-1B visas, are seeking to differentiate themselves from firms that commit fraud. Bill Kamela, director of policy counsel for Microsoft, told BusinessWeek in January that the company has been working with USCIS to ensure the program is free of fraud and abuse.
Allegations of Displacing U.S. Workers
The fraud identified in the Feb. 12 announcement echoes patterns
outlined in the October USCIS report. Specifically, Vision Systems
Group is accused of filing petition requests with the government
showing the H-1B visa workers would be employed in Iowa to take
advantage of lower requirements for wage rates. But the workers were
allegedly placed in locations on the East and West coasts. Whitaker
says that by doing so, the company "dislocated and displaced United
States workers that could have done those jobs."
In other cases uncovered in the investigation, foreign workers have
allegedly been placed in jobs and locations not previously certified by
the Labor Dept., displacing qualified American workers and violating
prevailing wage laws. The companies and foreign workers allegedly
submitted false statements and documents to state and federal agencies
supporting their visa petitions.
The operation was conducted by federal, state, and local law
enforcement agencies in Iowa, California, Massachusetts, Texas,
Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and New Jersey.
Last edited: 13-Feb-09 06:32 AM