H-1B visas allow U.S. employers to hire specialty workers (non-U.S. citizens) to come to the United States to live and work. The visas often last three years but can be extended to six years. The H-1B visa program was touted as a way to bring the world’s best technology minds to the United States. What people are talking about now, however, is how tech companies are abusing the program and taking advantage of the system for the benefit of their bottom lines, sometimes going as far as breaking the law.

Specifically, employers are taking advantage of the H-1B program to hire cheaper workers. Not only are these employees cheaper than American employees, but also they are more likely to stay with the company because it’s not as easy to leave, given their H-1B visa status.

Here are some additional ways in which employers are taking advantage of H-1B workers:

–          Charging fees for visa applications, recruitment and other fees that weren’t disclosed in the employment agreement or that are in direct breach of the employment agreement.

–          Wage violations, such as failing to pay earned overtime, or ailing to provide meal breaks or rest breaks as required by state and federal laws.

–          Flat-out failure to pay the worker what was promised in an employment contract or visa application. Some workers even have trouble getting regular paychecks at all.

–          Failing to pay a salary equal to that given to U.S. workers in the same position. H-1B visa holders should be paid a “prevailing wage,” but there are loopholes.

Employers who use and abuse H-1B visa employees know that their employees are less likely to assert their rights (or know their rights) when it comes to U.S. labor and employment laws. The company has a hold on them. It’s a win for the employer, who gets to pay the employee less and have more control over them.

If you are a non-U.S. citizen working in the United States for a U.S. company in a tech or IT position, and you suspect that your employer has violated your employment agreement or labor laws, or committed visa fraud, give us a call at (800) 517-1614.

You have rights, including the ability to take action against an employer for these violations and abuse. We’ll talk to you for free about your situation in order to help you understand your options. We consider these cases anywhere in the country, and talking to our attorneys is completely confidential.