OCTOBER 09, 2008
An internal government investigation reveals widespread fraud in a special visa program that allows U.S. employers to hire educated foreign guest workers for specialty occupations.
Designed to enable foreign professionals—such as engineers, doctors, scientists and lawyers—make valuable contributions to the American economy, the H-1B visa permits U.S. companies to sponsor them for up to three years. The government annually grants 65,000 H-1B visas, which allow holders to subsequently apply for permanent U.S. residency (Green Card).
But the program is rife with the sort of corruption that undoubtedly compromises national security. A 15-page report, published by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and made public by an Iowa senator this week, reveals that foreign workers forge documents, provide fake degrees and even nonexistent U.S. companies with bogus locations.
Serious violations are so common, according to the report, that one in five visas is affected by either fraud or other “technical” violations. In some cases foreign employees worked at jobs that differed from what they claimed on the visa application.
One supposedly highly educated professional from an unnamed country was caught working at a laundromat doing laundry and maintaining washing machines. The report rightfully concludes that the violations represent a “significant vulnerability,” which may seem like somewhat of an understatement.
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