Immigration Enforcement

H1-B 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

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 documents.

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 investigated.

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.

As unemployment 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.

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February 13, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. This type fraud has been going on a lot since year 2000, lot of people created these companies and sponsored people from India. I am sure this is a tip of iceberg.

    I am surprised this news is not there in any of the National News Media.

    Immigration attorneys and companies like Microsoft are the ones who still support H1-B visa program along with majority of the congressmen and senators

    Lot of people have lost jobs in it, there are enough people in this country now to do IT work. People can be retrained from other fields with minimum training to these kind of jobs. Fed wants to spend billions of dollars to create some low end jobs, but no one wants to talk about this fraud

    Comment by kneravetla | February 16, 2009

  2. Hi,

    I want to know if a person is cheated by such fraudulent companies and that person has paid the fee they asked for H1-b visa processing and he has got success in balloting , so is there any legal way that he can reclaim submitted amount/fee.

    Comment by raheel | March 1, 2009


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