The increasingly popular H-1B visa program, which allows U.S. employers to hire a certain number of foreign workers each year in so-called “specialty occupations” (including occupations in science, technology and engineering) is now coming under more watchful eyes at various federal agencies concerned about employment abuses.
H-1B employers should be particularly wary of actions taken by the U.S. Department of Labor against those suspected of non-compliance with pertinent labor rules affecting H-1B workers.
First, employers must pay the “prevailing wage rates” for a particular skilled occupation in the area in which the worker is plying his or her trade. Employers must also pay the same fringe benefits to H-1B workers that they do to other workers, and afford them the same working conditions.
Second, employers are not permitted to reduce the pay of any H-1B worker due to lack of work, nor can they otherwise refuse to compensate such a worker for down time. If the employer cannot pay such a worker as a full-time employee, then the employer must cancel the H-1B visa and pay for the employee’s return trip back to their native country.
Finally, employers of H-1B workers cannot charge them for filing fees, attorney’s fees or other expenses associated with the filing of H-1B petitions.
If you are an employer in need of legal assistance in procuring foreign labor, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (847) 564-0712 for an appointment to speak with a qualified attorney. You can also check out our immigration law Website for more information about how we might assist you.