Although it’s not a story often portrayed in the news, visa fraud is a widespread problem with a multitude of variables, making it tricky to track and prevent.

One type of visa that is of particular interest is the H-2B visa for temporary or seasonal nonagricultural labor. The US plans to admit 66,000 workers under H-2B visas in 2015, and the cap of 33,000 for the first half of the year was reached on January 26th. While many applications are legitimate, and criminal prosecutions for H-2B violations are rare, abuse of the program is common. Employers ask for more workers than they need, or ask for workers for longer periods of time than the standard seasonal time period. Because employers aren’t responsible for housing costs, H-2B visas cost employers less, unlike the H-2A program. Because of this, fraud and abuse of the H-2B visa program becomes more prevalent.

Combining Savanna, our all-source analysis software, with the powerful data analysis of IBM Analyst’s Notebook, Thetus decided to take a closer look at H-2B visa fraud to determine potential prevention strategies.
search-chart-vfWith IBM’s Identity Insight and Analyst’s Notebook, we were able to visualize a suspicious pending H-2B application and all of its related connections. This helped us identify and flag several pending H-2B applications of concern that have multiple sponsor contact names but only one sponsor employer, which is a common pattern of fraudulent activity.

After importing the Analyst’s Notebook Chart built around the suspicious H-2B applicant and his connections into Savanna, we can capture and expand on discoveries made in Analyst’s Notebook and find out more information on the suspicious sponsor employer.

We build a Crumbnet, Savanna’s mind-mapping tool, to outline the discoveries from Analyst’s Notebook and frame our analysis in narrative form. Savanna’s dynamic Occurrence documents helps us compile existing knowledge and connections on each pending H-2B applicants and the suspicious sponsor employer. A quick key word Search reveals previously built Charts uploaded by another Savanna user identifying the suspicious sponsor employer as a previously investigated company with ties to drug cartels. At this point, it is clear a larger visa fraud investigation is needed and we compile our findings in a Note to share with team members and send to investigators for further action.

View each step of the visa fraud analysis in further detail in the demo below.

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