The subject of visa program fraud and abuse is getting a lot of attention from the U.S. Department of Labor Alexander Acosta. He is focused on working with the departments of Justice and Homeland Security to crack down on those abusing the program. Acosta states that his goal is to protect Americans, saying those committing visa fraud create an inability for Americans to properly provide for themselves and their families. Some of the laws that are to be “vigorously enforced” are as follows:
- 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, U.S. workers and the general public.
- Directing the division, ETA 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 ETA, 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 OIG to send representatives to participate in its efforts.
An effort is being made to publicly prosecute those in violation of visa programs. An example of this is the case of G Farms, where dangerous and unlawful housing was provided to agricultural workers. The department obtained a preliminary injunction from the U.S. District Court for Arizona against the business under the H-2A visa program. Significant investigation into visa fraud by the Office of Inspector General has recently led to convictions of attorneys, employers, recruiters, corrupt employees, and labor brokers. They have been successful in their fight against fraud through the H-1B program.