Site Visits by U.S. Department of Homeland Security Regarding H-1B Employees at Stanford University
If your department has sponsored H-1B employees, it is possible that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may come to your department for an unannounced site visits. In order to prepare for such an event, we are providing you with important information and recommended procedures. Most site visits at Stanford have been conducted over the phone and by email.
These visits are random, unannounced, and aimed at employers who sponsor H-1B workers in the US. They form part of ongoing compliance and anti-fraud efforts by the DHS, and are allowed by federal regulation. There is no reason to be alarmed by such a visit, but at the same time, it is critical that Stanford respond promptly and accurately.
What to Expect
DHS investigators and contractors are assigned to investigate specific H-1B petitions on a random basis. They will be looking to confirm that the H-1B employee is employed in the position and at the location that was specified in the H-1B petition. The investigation will focus primarily on specific details about job title, actual salary paid, number of hours worked, job location, job description and job duties, degree requirements for the job, and method of recruitment that relate to the H-1B employee in question. Inspectors may request to see the Public Access file, which is kept at Bechtel International Center.
What to Do If You Are Contacted by CIS
- If any government inspector approaches your department, ask to see the person’s badge and/or identification. If the person does not have a badge, but has a business card, call the number on the card to verify the identity of the inspector. Inspectors should expect this, and we need to be cautious about disclosing or discussing employee information without first verifying the identity of the investigator.
- An investigator may wish to verify the H-1B employee’s
- position and job duties
- requirements of the position
- work location
- start date and
- previous work experience and credentials.
- If the investigator asks to speak to a particular H-1B employee from your department, provide them with available contact information for the H-1B employee. (This should be the employee's work information. Under no circumstances should the employee’s home address or personal phone number be released.) Then, contact the employee immediately and give them advance notice about the possible interview from the investigator. You may offer to be present when the interview takes place, and inform the H-1B employee that they may have a Bechtel representative present at the interview if they want.
- The inspector may ask to speak with coworkers of the H-1B employee. If so, you may give them contact information for coworkers. You should then immediately alert the coworkers about the potential contact, and let them know that they may answer truthfully to the extent they have knowledge of what they’re being asked, but that they should not guess or speculate about things they do not know.
- The inspector may ask to see the physical work location where the H-1B worker is actively employed. Please observe any safety precautions normally used for visitors to that site.
- The inspector may ask for financial or general information about Stanford, in which case it is appropriate to refer them to the Stanford Annual Report that is available on the university’s website.
H1-B Documentation and Other Requirements
- Please remember that H-1B petitions are employer specific, location specific, and job specific. If there is any material change in employment, the H-1B petition needs to be amended. Please contact Bechtel prior to any changes in the H-1B employee’s position or you have any questions about this requirement. For example, if the employee is working in a remote location, offsite of the main campus or hospital, including regular telecommuting from home, this must be noted on the I-129 petition form.
- Please check now to ensure that you are aware of each H-1B employee in your department, and that you have a copy of the current H-1B petition (I-129), H-1B approval notice (I-797) and LCA (ETA 9035) files for each of them. These documents are provided by Bechtel International Center to every department that has filed an H-1B on behalf of an employee. If you are missing any documentation, contact the Bechtel International Center immediately.
- Please also inform the H-1B employees about the nature of the site-visits and possible questions. If the H-1B employees have any questions, please advise them to get in touch with the Bechtel International Center.
- Make sure all H-1B employees also have a copy of their current LCA and Forms I-129 and I-797.
At Bechtel International Center:
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.