Can you work with a tourist visa? What happens if you get caught?
You cannot work with a tourist visa. The purpose of a tourist visa is a visit and tourism, not work in the US.
Of course, a tourist visa can also be combined with a B-1 visa (business visit), but you can’t work with it either. You can hold meetings, attend conferences, and find partners but you are not allowed to do daily work in the United States.
What will happen if you get caught depends on what status you have, what you expect, and in what process you are:
If a person arrives on a tourist visa and is in the adjustment of status process to a green card through marriage with a US citizen, then working without a permit will not affect this process. Working without a work permit violates status and does not affect the right to asylum or obtaining a green card for immediate relatives of US citizens. People often make a mistake applying for asylum or a green card through marriage and do not indicate that they were working in a tourist status without permission. And then, when it turns out that they lied on the application, it becomes a much more serious violation, which is a basis for being denied asylum and not getting a green card through adjustment of status.
If caught violating travel status, you may be called to Immigration Court or even detained at Immigration Detention. But today, these units have other priorities. They do not try to load the courts with those who have not committed any serious crimes.
Hiring people without a permit or with a tourist status is more fraught with repercussions for the employer with a fine of around $900. And in case the employer does this intentionally, and repeatedy (Pattern and Practice), a criminal case may be initiated.
So, it is advisable not to work without a work permit or if your status does not allow you to work. But in some cases, it won’t affect your case negatively