Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Labor Jim Acosta announced an initiative aimed at addressing fraud and restoring transparency in U.S. non-immigrant visa enforcement. As released by the Department of Labor (DOL), the key initiatives include:
- Directing the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (the Division) to use all its tools in conducting civil investigations to enforce labor protections provided by the visa programs.
- Directing the DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) 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 (OIG).
- 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.
Additionally, the Secretary also addressed additional enforcement measures, safeguarding working conditions, and vigorously pursuing visa fraud schemes. This action has been anticipated and was released prior to “Workforce Development Week,” to be announced by the White House as early as next week.