How to Create and Maintain an H-1B Public Access File

The H-1B employer creates a public access file.

As companies increasingly expand their operations globally, the need to hire foreign workers has become common practice. To ensure transparency and compliance with immigration regulations, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires employers to create and maintain a Public Access File (PAF) for each worker H -1B they hire. Here’s what employers need to know about creating and maintaining a public access file.

What is a Public Access File (PAF)?

A public access file, often abbreviated to PAF, is a requirement for employers hiring foreign workers under the H-1B visa program. It serves as a repository of records and information relating to the H-1B worker’s employment and is available to the public and government agencies upon request. The PAF ensures transparency in the hiring process and helps verify that employers are complying with the rules and regulations of the H-1B program.

When should a public access file be created?

Employers must create a Public Access File (PAF) for each H-1B employee they hire. The PAF must be established no later than the date the employer submits the Labor Conditions Application (LCA) to the Department of Labor (DOL). This is a critical step in the H-1B petition process, and failure to create a PAF in a timely manner can result in compliance issues and potential penalties.

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How long should a publicly accessible file be kept?

An employer must retain the PAF for one year beyond the last date the H-1B employee is employed under the H-1B visa or until the LCA expires, whichever is later. This means that even after the H-1B worker leaves the company or their visa expires, the PAF must still be retained for an additional year.

What should a publicly accessible file contain?

A well-organized and complete Public Access File (PAF) is essential to show that an employer is complying with the rules of the H-1B visa program. Here is a list of key documents and information that should be included in the PAF:

  • LCA (Application of Working Conditions): A copy of the certified ACV must be the first document of the PAF. It serves as the basis for the H-1B petition and contains important details about the employee’s wages and working conditions.
  • Copy of H-1B petition: Include a copy of the H-1B petition filed with USCIS, along with any supporting documents.
  • Wage rate documentation: Maintain records of the salary paid to the H-1B employee, including any salary increases or changes in job title and responsibilities.
  • Proof of review display: Include documentation that the required notices regarding H-1B employment have been posted in the workplace for at least 10 consecutive business days or distributed to employees.
  • Determination of prevailing wage: If applicable, retain documentation of the prevailing wage determination obtained from the DOL.
  • Recruitment documentation: If the employer has conducted recruiting efforts for the position, include copies of relevant advertisements, job postings and communications.
  • Payroll records: Maintain payroll records, including pay stubs or direct deposit statements, for the H-1B employee.
  • Termination files: If the H-1B employee is terminated, attach documentation explaining the circumstances of the termination.
  • Other supporting documents: Any additional documents related to the H-1B employee’s employment, such as appraisals or performance reviews, must also be included.

Creating and maintaining a PAF is a crucial requirement for employers hiring foreign workers under the H-1B visa program. It ensures transparency, compliance with immigration regulations and accountability. By following the guidelines outlined above, employers can establish and maintain a comprehensive PAF that not only meets regulatory requirements, but also helps them successfully navigate the H-1B visa process while demonstrating their commitment to complying with program rules and regulations.

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