There are various reasons federal law enforcement agents might come in person to a university office.
The Immigration Response Team has compiled general guidelines for what departments should do when federal law enforcement agents come to a UMN office, and below is information about specific reasons Department of Homeland Security (DHS) staff may conduct a site visit.
DHS is implementing on-site visits at employers who hire international students in F-1 STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) status for the purpose of investigating the nature of the STEM employment training. STEM OPT employment is meant to provide students training in their field of study. While DHS has always had the authority to visit STEM OPT work sites, there has recently been discussion about increasing these visits.
Generally, employers should receive a 48 hour advance notice prior to any site visit. It appears the questions being asked have largely been ones about the nature of the employment and adherence to the training plan (employers and students should have a copy of the I-983 Form which serves as the training plan) to confirm compliance. The DHS website has more information about what to expect from a STEM OPT site visit.
H-1B Temporary Worker Program
As part of ongoing investigation of potential fraud in the H-1B Temporary Worker program, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is increasing its unannounced visits to employers across the U.S. Such a visit usually starts by a DHS officer attempting to find and interview the H-1B employee at their work location, followed by the officer contacting ISSS, and sometimes contacting/visiting the employing department indicated on the petition filed by the University of Minnesota. These visits are routine and should not be a cause for alarm.
Here are some guidelines if you are contacted by a DHS officer:
- As with any government officer or government contractor, ask to see their badge and/or identification. Please take note of their name and ID number, if applicable.
- Contact an H-1B Advisor or ISSS Director.
- If you are unable to immediately answer any particular question, explain to the investigator that additional time is needed to consult with ISSS. Please also feel free to refer the officer to ISSS at any time.
- The officer will confirm employee identity and details about your employment listed within the I-129 petition: title, salary, duties, degree requirements, and location.
- The officer may also take pictures of the workspace, worksite, lab, office or classroom.
Reminder: When the University of Minnesota submits an H-1B petition to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, we are attesting to specific statements about the position, title, salary, hours, duties, degree requirements, and location. If any of these aspects of the H-1B employee's work changes, the University may need to file a new petition and receive USCIS approval before the changes are instituted. If this is the case with any H-1B employee, please contact the ISSS H staff immediately.