Trump govt launches crackdown on H1B visa fraud

Meanwhile, the US Department of Justice issued a stern warning to companies filing applications for H-1B work visas for high-tech workers not to discriminate against Americans. ".the fact that a person may be employed as a computer programmer and may use information technology skills and knowledge to help an enterprise achieve its goals in the course of his or her job is not sufficient to establish the position as a speciality occupation".

H-1B workers who will work off-site at another company or organization's location.

President Trump had sought to end the visas, but has yet to issue an order on the matter.

It's too early to tell the impact on staffing firms that use H-1Bs; it will depend on how aggressive the USCIS is in site visits, Roberts said.

USA citizenship and immigration services also announced it would step up its review of employers that use the visas, saying american workers who are "qualified, willing, and deserving" have been unfairly disadvantaged.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), the chief industry body for Indian IT companies stood by its oft-proclaimed position: "The H-1B visa system exists specifically because the USA has a persistent shortage of high-skilled IT talent", it said, stating that the new rules would have minimal impact.

In future site visits, US Citizenship and Immigration Services agents will investigate incidents where an employer's basic business information can not be validated; businesses that have a high ratio of H1B employees compared with US workers; and employers petitioning for H1B workers who work off-site.

The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows American firms to employ foreign workers in occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Employers who discriminate against USA workers are those whose hiring practices favor H-1B workers. However, demand may be reduced from previous years given the focus H-1B visa use.

Indian techies have been the biggest beneficiaries of the H-1B visas - obtaining about 70 per cent of such visas - with companies posting thousands of employees to the US. Large Indian IT companies such as TCS, Infosys and Wipro have generally been the largest recipients of these visas.

The Department of Justice said applicants or employees who believe they were subjected to discrimination based on their citizenship, immigration status, or national origin in hiring, firing or recruitment or referral, should Civil Right Division's Immigrant and Employee Rights Section.

The White House also warned against abuse and fraud of H-1B visas by companies.

Since the campaign, the Trump Administration has promised to overhaul immigration with a new "American First" policy. A White House official said Trump may still do more on the program.

You could not have a more ominous beginning to the beginning of the H-1B lottery than the events that transpired over the last few days.