While is intended for the sole purpose of connecting foreign workers and U.S. employers in an effort to avoid recruitment fraud, we realize the potential for imposters to take advantage of the system.

For this reason, it is important to educate yourself on recruitment fraud before initiating your first session in the portal.


It is a standard practice in Mexico among other foreign countries for recruiters to charge workers for their services.
A recent survey conducted by the Centro for Derechos de los Migrantes (CDM) reports*:

  • 58% of workers surveyed paid a recruitment fee to their recruiter.
  • 47% took out a loan to cover pre-employment expenses.
  • 52% were never shown a job contract.
  • 1 out of 10 paid a fee for a job that never existed.

The average recruitment fee charged was $590 USD per worker.

*Data derived from Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Recruitment Reveled.


The U.S. Department of Labor prohibits recruitment “fees or other compensation” to be passed on to the H-2 worker.

These fees include, but are not limited to:

  • Petition fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Recruitment costs
  • Any other fee that is a condition of the H-2 worker’s employment


If you rely on someone else to find workers for you, you are relying on a third-party recruiter. These can be:


Recruitment fraud detection typically occurs during the worker interview process at the Embassy or consulate abroad. If the consular official suspects any of your employees were charged a recruitment fee.

  1. The Department of State will return the petition back to USCIS for further investigation.
  2. The investigation may take several weeks to conclude.
  3. USCIS may decide to revoke the petition entirely.
  4. The Department of State may issue a Notice of Intent to Revoke the applicant.
  5. The Department of State may issue a Notice of Revocation to the applicant.


1Don’t allow workers you meet through the portal to “recommend” other workers without first screening them:

Many employers blindly fall into the trap of giving employees, both H-2 and non-H-2, the authority to recommend workers without first screening them.
However, surveys show that, while it may seem unfathomable, it is common practice that your own employees could be charging workers in connection with your job opportunity.
If you have asked an H-2 employee, or potential employee you meet through the portal, to find you a handful of workers or more, it is highly likely they will find a way to charge the workers they recruit for the exceptional opportunity to work in the U.S. on a work visa – and that goes for family members as well.

This very practice undermines the integrity of the portal.

2Give screening authority to upper management.

Be cautious of who you entrust to contact and hire your H-2 workers. Although it may be easier for a Spanish speaking employee to communicate with potential candidates, the portal is set up in a way that Employers can view worker profiles in English.
Give a well-trusted, upper management employee the authority to make the decision on who to hire. The risk of losing a higher paying, stable job because of recruitment fraud is much higher for upper management than it is for a regular employee.

By giving screening authority to upper management you establish an extra layer of accountability.

3Offer fraud training for management and employees

Unfortunately, the federal government provides very little guidance on “how” to determine if an employee has been involved in recruitment fraud.

Here are some industry specific best practices:

Take into account that workers are reluctant to come forward.

Most workers fear retaliation from the person that recruited or “recommended” them. They are so desperate to work in the United States, that they often expect to be charged for the opportunity. They assume that the person that recommended them has an “in” with the employer and that if they expose them, they will not get to come the following season.

Here are some tips for overcoming fear of retaliation:

  1. Drive home your company’s intolerance of recruitment fraud
  2. Reassure workers of their rights, including company policy and the laws and retulations that protect them from retaliation
  3. Include recruitment fraud prevention as a part of routine training to both upper managment and employees
  4. Empower employees by providing opportunities to grow in the company.

By being sensitive to workers’ fears, you can better tailor your approach in addressing recruitment fraud.

Provide assurance that the company owner or upper management makes the final decision on recruitment, not a co-worker.

New workers are especially vulnerable to recruitment fraud. They often rely on friends and family to guide them through the process of obtaining a visa and what to expect in the U.S.

Clearly define the separation of power between co-workers and upper management and reassure them that ultimately the owner or upper management makes personnel decisions – not their co-workers.

By clarifying that only upper management has decision-making authority, you remove the threat of retaliation from co-workers and establish trust in upper management.

Conduct an anonymous survey and provide a confidential drop box.

An anonymous survey is a great tool for uncovering worker sentiment.

Survey questions for H-2 employees may include:

  1. How did you hear about the job?
  2. How much did you pay to get here?
  3. Did you make a deposit into a bank account?
  4. If so, for how much and to which bank account?
  5. Did you pay anyone in cash?
  6. If so, for what services?
  7. Did they provide you a receipt?

Keep in mind new workers are more reluctant to disclose recruitment fraud abuse. You may want to perform several surveys throughout the year, including an exit survey at the end of the season that includes the same questions as the first survey.

Additionally, a good idea is to provide a confidential drop-box for workers to communicate anonymously. Place it in a location that is both inconspicuous but also easily accessible by workers. Make sure the person in charge of the box is trustworthy and from upper management. Keep record of all comments. This will help gauge if there is an overall trend that should be investigated thoroughly.

By providing an anonymous means of communication, workers may feel more empowered to disclose recruitment fraud abuse.