FDNS

The Fraud Detection & National Security agency  (FDNS) is a division of U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).  It  employs +/-600 individuals around the U.S.  The agency was formed in 2002 as a tool to benefit the administration in fraud detection.  The agency says it is not an enforcement agency and refers all suspected fraud to the U.S Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).

One of the programs maintained by FDNS is called the Benefit Fraud Assessment Program.  It is conducted by FDNS officials to determine volume of fraud, causes and propose solutions.  Findings from the investigations reveal that there is a thirty-three percent (33%) fraud rate with religious worker cases and sixteen percent (16%) fraud rate and five percent (5%) non-compliance rate with H-1B nonimmigrant petitions.

FDNS assigns contractors to verify information relating to specific petitions.  The contractors work from a checklist with no independent authority or decision-making capability.  Contractors do not have substantive knowledge of visa categories.  Their objective is to confirm that a beneficiary of a petition is working at the listed location, doing the work described, and receiving the salary that is listed on the petition.   The visits are unannounced at the place of business.

Tips on how to prepare for an FDNS visit:

  • A company should designate a primary and alternate person to handle a worksite visit.
  • Receptionists should be alerted to the possibility of a visit.
  • A company should educate everyone who might be involved in a worksite visit as to what to expect and how to react.
  • The designated primary person should ask for identification and record the information and copy the business card. They should then inquire as to nature of visit. At this point and if possible, counsel should be contacted before answering FDNS contractor questions.

The FDNS investigator will want to meet with company representatives and the H-1B and L-1 workers.  The primary company representative should accompany the FDNS contractor always and take notes of the questions posed.  The primary company representative should not allow the contractor to speak alone with the H-1B and L-1 workers or any other employee.

You should expect the FDNS contractor to ask details about the employer ownership structure and to confirm financial information, number of employees, U.S. office locations,  and the number of H-1B and L-1 petitions.  The contractor may also question about recent lay-offs.

The FDNS contractor may want to review policies such as repayment agreements, H-1B hiring and green card policies.  S/he may ask for details regarding specific petitions like job titles, duties, salaries, work schedules and location of employment, and dates of employment.  S/he may also confirm that the H-1B/L-1 employee possesses the qualifications, education, work experience listed in the petition.  S/he may even confirm prior immigration history.

The best ways to prepare for an FDNS worksite visit are as follows:

  1. Audit H-1B/L-1 workers’ employment to ensure job duties, worksites and salary are consistent with the petition on file.
  2. Review public access files for each H-1B worker to ensure that they are compliant.
  3. Select a primary representative and an alternate to coordinate across all channels the response to an unannounced visit and make sure they have access to counsel memos and checklists.