21 November 2005

Computer staffing firm to pay US$2.65 million for immigration law violations

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An American computer staffing firm has agreed to pay $US2.25 million in back wages to 232 computer professionals and a US$400,000 fine to settle immigration law violations.

An investigation by the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division found that the firm, called Computech Inc., brought non-immigrant H-1B workers into America but failed to pay them the minimum required wage rates in the areas where they were employed.

The investigation also disclosed that Computech frequently “benched” the workers without compensation contrary to the rules of the H-1B program.

‘The Department of Labor aggressively enforces the law to ensure that temporary foreign workers are compensated fully and fairly,’ said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. ‘Abuse of the temporary foreign worker program is not tolerated and violators, as this case shows, are vigorously pursued.’

The settlement, approved by a Labor Department administrative law judge, orders the company to pay US$2.25 million to 232 foreign workers and a $400,000 fine in addition to the back wages. The company is also prohibited from participation in the H-1B Visa program for 18 months.

The H-1B Visa program allows foreign workers to enter and work temporarily in America in professional level jobs such as computer programmers, engineers, medical doctors and teachers. H-1B workers must be paid at least the same wage rates and benefits as those paid to American workers already doing the same job in the same area.

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