Monday, 22 August 2016

Four Telugus in United States charged with ‘H-1B visa fraud’

By Udumula Sudhakar Reddy
The US Immigration and Customs and Enforcement department has unearthed a major countrywide H-1B Visa fraud and charged four persons from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana state among others for conspiracy to harbour aliens for profit and for visa fraud.

ICE has identified hundreds of people from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana who have obtain-ed jobs through fraudulent means. It said that not only H-1B visa fraud for commissions and kickbacks, it has also come across abuse of student visa programme.

Officers of the US ICE and Homeland Security Investigations conducted a nationwide crackdown after they exposed a fraud wherein hundreds of Chinese and Indians remained in the US with the help of the “Pay-to-Stay” University of Northern New Jersey (UNNJ).

ICE said that 21 persons were charged including Karthik Nimmala, Kodali Tejesh, Dyavarshetty Govardhan and Avinash Shankar along with other Indians and Chinese. The accused were brokers, recruiters and employers.

Undercover ops found visa fraud
The US ICE said the University of Northern New Jersey was not staffed with instructors or educators, had no curriculum, and conducted no actual classes. It operated as a storefront location with small offices staffed by agents posing as administrators.

UNNJ represented its-elf as a school that was authorised to issue ‘certificate of eligibility for nonimmigrant (F-1) student status for academic and language students (Form I-20).

HSI agents identified hundreds of foreign nationals, primarily from China and India, who had previously entered the US on F-1 visas. Through recruiting companies and business entities located in New Jersey, California, Illinois, New York and Virginia, the defendants enabled approximately 1,076 foreign individuals to fraudulently maintain their nonimmigrant status,” the ICE said.

They used UNNJ to fraudulently obtain work authorisation and work visas for hundreds of clients. The accused were able to outsource their foreign national clients as full-time employees with numerous US-based corporations, in exchange for commission.

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