Grassley Cites NBC News Reports in Asking DHS to Monitor Visa Program for Fraud

An investigation by NBC News and NBC Bay Area found the F-1 visa program, in which foreign students work at U.S. firms, seems to have been exploited by fake firms

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on Capitol Hill on Feb. 12, 2020.
Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Citing NBC News reporting, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee has asked the Department of Homeland Security to answer questions about the scope of fraud in a U.S. student visa program.

A joint investigation by NBC News and NBC Bay Area found that the F-1 visa program, which lets international students work at firms in the U.S. after graduation, appears to have been exploited by fake companies providing false employment verifications.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a letter sent Thursday to Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf that he wanted to know the scope of fraud in the Optional Practical Training program, in which U.S. firms employ F-1 visa holders, over the past five years.

“How many companies currently provide employment to F-1 visa holders under the OPT and STEM OPT programs?” asked Grassley. “How many companies were identified as being engaged in fraudulent or potentially fraudulent activities?”

Grassley said he had previously inquired about fraud in the OPT component of the F-1 program in 2018, but that “recent news reports have shed light on additional types of fraud involving these programs.” He cited the joint NBC News investigation, and the case of Findream, LLC and Weiyun "Kelly" Huang.

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