FDNS Site Visits: How to be prepared

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Are you aware of FDNS site visits? Do you know how FDNS chooses your organization for site visits? Do you know what happens at FDNS site visits and what sort of questions FDNS officials can ask you? If not, we are here to help you step by step.

FDNS is a regulatory authority solely responsible for doing compliance checks on petitioning organizations that have applied for H1B/L1 visas for non-immigrant workers. Apart from H1B/L1, FDNS site visits may also occur for those who have applied for special immigrant religious worker visas (R1) and EB-5 investor program visas.

Since there is a huge surge in H1B/L1 (non-immigrant workers visa) demand, USCIS, with the help of FDNS, keeps a check on petitioning firms to detect and eliminate any kind of fraud in non-immigrant visas.

In any case, it is always advisable to stay prepared for an audit at all times. You can follow multiple things to prepare yourself for the FDNS site visit. Read on to know more.

What is USCIS FDNS?

USCIS set up a governing body named FDNS in 2004 to conduct checks on petitioners who apply for non-immigrant visas like H1B and L1 visas. Since there is a spike in demand for H1B  and L1 petitions, USCIS wants to ensure petitioners don’t obtain immigrant visas through fraudulent means that could harm American workers or raise public safety or national security concerns.

How does FDNS choose your organization?

FDNS (Fraud Detection and National Security) conducts random checks on petitioners’ firms if:

  • USCIS can not validate the employer business data through the Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises (VIBE) tool.
  • The petitioner is an H1B employee dependent.
  • The petitioner is not complying with the attestations he made while filing the LCA. The attestations correlate directly to the employee’s salary, work hours, locations, and extra benefits.
  • The employee is working offsite at another company location.

What to expect during an FDNS site visit?

FDNS officers visit the site without any prior information. They have set parameters to conduct the visit and check if there is something the petitioner is not complying with in terms of wages, the scope of work, and control as stated in the H1B petition or L1 petition. They can also go beyond the set parameters if they find anything unusual with petitioners or employees. An FDNS officer may verify the following:

  • The information that the petitioner has provided during petition filing.
  • The documents that the petitioner has submitted during petition filing.
  • The information related to the organization, like when it was founded, how it functions, the niche/vertical it is operating in, etc.
  • The officer can tour the employer premises and employee work area, click photos and review documents.

Apart from these, an FDNS officer may also ask questions to both employer and employee. Here’s a list of sample questions that could be asked::

Questions for the employer:

  • Are you aware of the petition you filed?
  • Do you know your employee?
  • What kind of business does your company perform?
  • How many employers work for you?
  • When did the employee start working with you?
  • What is the job title of the employee?
  • What are the roles and responsibilities of the employee?
  • Who does the employee report to?
  • Who reviews employee performance?
  • How did you hire the employee?
  • How much is the employee paid? And what is the frequency?

Questions for the employee:

  • How long have you been working for the employer?
  • What is your job profile?
  • What is your salary?
  • Tell me, how do you qualify for this job title?
  • Provide me with the documents related to your job specifications.
  • What is your work timing?
  • Do you work more than 8 hours a day?
  • Where did you graduate from?
  • Where did you postgraduate from?
  • Who paid the visa petition fee?
  • Do you get extra benefits?
  • How often does your employee announce appraisals for you?
  • What is your current address?
  • Who is your reporting manager/supervisor? What is his email address?

Tips to prepare for the FDNS site visit

It’s always better to be prepared for an FDNS site visit as it minimizes the chances of notice of intent to revoke (NOIR). Let’s look at the following practices to prepare for the USCIS FDNS site visits.

  • All your employees must know their job roles and responsibilities.
  • Do internal audits or mock-ups to train employees for USCIS FDNS site visits.
  • Provide a copy of the petition to employees so that they know the details.
  • Though participation is entirely voluntary, it is best to cooperate during FDNS visits and respond to questions confidently.
  • Only provide accurate information to the FDNS officer. Avoid guesswork. If you want additional time to get information, take permission from the officer.
  • Keep all relevant documents organized so that when asked by the FDNS officer, it is easily accessible.
  • Keep supporting documents ready, like a copy of the approved visa petition, payroll records/paystubs, and a copy of the LCA.

FDNS officers gather relevant compliance information and send all details to USCIS for further review. If they suspect anything unusual, they may refer the case to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for criminal investigation.

How can Imagility help you?

When an FDNS site visit occurs, the reputation of the employer comes under question, fines could be heavy, and it could lead to a dire situation for the employer, especially if a NOIR (Notice of Intent to Revoke) is issued.  In that case, you need to seek legal counsel.

Imagility Compliance module helps HR teams record and track all compliance data in one place, ensuring smooth operations and a stress-free experience during audits. This helps HR teams maintain global talent without any immigration or compliance anxiety. Imagility provides comprehensive compliance support and helps you be in a state of preparedness.

  • Private and public access files of employees available under a single menu
  • All supporting documentation submitted with the petition is available anytime
  • Any additional documents or information needed can be collated from the petitioner or beneficiary profiles
  • FAQs that provide support to prepare for an FDNS visit
  • Support for tracking FDNS visits:
    • In-person visit: Beneficiary and petitioner can record visit details through Imagility
    • Email: All additional information requested in any follow-up communication from USCIS can be easily pulled from profile information.
    • Recording FDNS visits on Imagility and bring them to closure in case of any pending actions.

Reach out to us for a demo today at sales@imagility.co
Call us at +1 603 782 4622/+1 617 865 6588.
For more info, visit us at www.imagility.co

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