Department of Labor to Ramp Up Investigations of Foreign Worker Visa Programs

The Department of Labor has a minor but important role in some immigration matters, including the H-1 and H-2 visa programs and labor certification applications for employment-based green cards. After reviewing the DOL’s foreign worker visa programs, Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta announced actions to increase protections for American workers while aggressively confronting entitles that are committing visa fraud and abuse. The department is directing its Wage and Hour Division and the Employment and Training Administration to use all their tools in conducting civil investigations to enforce labor protections provided by the visa programs, to make changes to the labor condition application (LCA) needed for the H-1B visa, and to identify systematic violations and potential fraud. The Office of the Solicitor General will coordinate the enforcement efforts and refer criminal findings to the Office of the Inspector General. Pursuing this new direction, the DOL recently obtained a preliminary injunction of the H-2A visa program for a farming operation in Arizona where illegal and potentially life-threatening housing was being provided to the foreign workers. Other legal actions against H-1B and H-2B violators are likely on the way.

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