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back to index backAMERItalk April,  2005

Company hit by U.S. Department of Labor for $5.7 million

Employers bringing non-immigrant H-1B workers into the U.S. have to make sure they comply with all wage requirements in order to avoid facing hefty fines.  A recent case brings this point home forcefully. The Labor Department has ordered a Southfield, Michigan firm that places computer professionals at locations throughout the United States to pay $4,500,503 in back wages to 232 non-immigrant workers, and a whopping $1,222,000 in fines for immigration law violations.

Investigators found that Computech Inc. brought non-immigrant H-1B workers into the U.S. but failed to pay them the required wage rate in the areas where they were employed.  Investigators also say that Computech frequently paid nothing at all to the H-1B workers when there were no work assignments available.  The Labor Department ordered that if any or all of the 232 workers cannot be located, the corresponding amount of back wages are to be paid instead into the U.S. Treasury.

The fines were assessed for alleged willful” violations of the wage requirements of the H-1B visa program and for alleged inaccurate information on the H-1B application materials submitted by the company. This is the culmination of a five-year investigation of wages paid to the company's H-1B workers who were in the country between 1998 and 2000.  By law, H-1B workers must be paid either the actual wage paid by the employer to non-foreign employees for the same work, or the prevailing wage paid to U.S. workers for the same job in the local area, whichever is higher. In addition, non-immigrant workers in this category must be paid whether they are on assignment or not.

It goes without saying that cases such as this one reinforce the importance of good HR practices that comply with legal regulations.  

Source: American Society of Employers - GAI

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