IT Company Fined $300,000 in U.S. for Violating H-1B Visa Rules
The Department of Labor has asked People Tech Group to pay $309,914 to 12 employees for violating labor provisions of the H-1B visa program.
A Redmond, Washington-based IT company has been fined $355,000 by the Department of Labor in the United States for violating H-1B labor rules. People Tech Group, which provides technical contract workers to other companies, was paying some of its H-1B employees entry-level wages or did not pay them at all, the agency found.
The firm, which also has offices in Bengaluru and Hyderabad, has been ordered to pay 12 employees $309,914 plus $45,564 in civil penalties for the violations.
“People Tech Group paid entry-level wages to H-1B computer analysts and computer programmers who performed the work of much more experienced employees and should have received higher prevailing rates. The company also failed to pay workers for time when the company failed to provide work, as the law requires,” the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) said.
“The intent of the H-1B foreign labor certification program is to help American companies find the highly skilled talent they need when they can prove that a shortage of U.S. workers exists,” Carrie Aguilar, the Wage and Hour Division Acting District Director, said in Seattle. “The resolution of this case demonstrates our commitment to safeguard American jobs, level the playing field for law-abiding employers, and ensure no one is being paid less than they are legally owed.”
The Trump administration is taking strict steps to curb violations of H-1B visa rules as part of its crackdown on immigration amid allegations that technology companies are misusing the visa to deny jobs to Americans. Calls are being made in the United States now for reforming the H-1B visa, which allows U.S. companies to hire foreign workers for six years in specialty occupations. Indian IT companies are the biggest beneficiaries of the program.
The Wage and Hour Division has listed nearly 30 companies as willful violator employers under the H-1B program, and a majority of those violators are Indian Americans or companies owned by them, according to a PTI report. At least 10 companies, including eight willful violators, have been debarred or disqualified from hiring foreign workers on H-1B visas, the news agency said.