After a “thorough review” of US foreign worker visa programs, such as the H-1B visa program, the Department of Labor is taking action to confront fraud and abuse, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced Tuesday.
Acosta instructed the department to enforce vigorously all laws within its jurisdiction governing the administration and enforcement of non-immigrant visa programs, including:
- Directing the department’s Wage and Hour Division to use all its tools in conducting civil investigations to enforce labor protections provided by the visa programs.
- Directing the department’s Employment and Training Administration to develop proposed changes to the Labor Condition Application, and for the division to review their investigatory forms, to better identify systematic violations and potential fraud, and provide greater transparency for agency personnel, US workers and the general public.
- Directing the division, Employment and Training Administration and the Office of the Solicitor to coordinate the administration and enforcement activities of the visa programs and make referrals of criminal fraud to the Office of the Inspector General.
- Establishing a working group made up of senior leadership from Employment and Training Administration, the division and Solicitor’s office to supervise this effort and coordinate enforcement to avoid duplication of efforts and maximize the efficiency of the department’s activities regarding the visa programs. The working group shall invite Office of the Inspector General to send representatives to participate in its efforts.
The DOL will also continue to work with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to further investigate and detect visa program fraud and abuse.
“Entities who engage in visa program fraud and abuse are breaking our laws and are harming American workers, negatively affecting Americans’ ability to provide for themselves and their families,” Acosta said. “We will enforce vigorously those laws, including heightened use of criminal referrals.”