Details of massive fraud and abuse of the popular H-2B work visa program have been made public by a government report, which shows that in one of such cases more than 87 Indian nationals paid at least USD 20,000 each to enter the US illegally.
“Several recent convictions have shown that some employers and recruiters may be abusing the foreign workers in the program,” the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in its letter to Congressman George Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor.
The report details 10 cases of wrongdoings that showed violations in areas such as unfair wages for employees, excessive fees charged to employees, and fraudulent documentation submitted to federal agencies to circumvent program rules. The 10 cases that we reviewed demonstrate fraud and abuse committed by recruiters and employers participating in the H-2B visa program and operating in 29 states.
“The 10 cases that we reviewed demonstrate fraud and abuse committed by recruiters and employers participating in the H-2B visa program and operating in 29 states,” the report made public yesterday said.In six of the 10 cases GAO reviewed, there were allegations that employers did not pay their H-2B employees the established hourly wage, overtime, or both.
In six cases, employers charged their H-2B workers fee that was for the benefit of the employer or charged excessive fee that brought employees’ wages below the hourly federal minimum wage. Also in eight of the 10 cases, employers were alleged to have submitted fraudulent documentation.
The H2B working visa is a non-immigrant visa which allows foreign nationals to enter into the US temporarily and engage in non-agricultural employment that is seasonal, intermittent, or based on a peak load need. According to GAO, a company in Louisiana obtained USD 1.8 million from a fraudulent H-2B visa conspiracy to bring 87 Indian nationals into the United States illegally.
The company submitted fraudulent H-2B documentation to federal agencies allegedly seeking workers from India.It charged at least USD 20,000 each for the H-2B visas but never employed the Indians. The GAO report said representatives of the firm traveled to India to assist the Indians with the application process and corresponded with the US Consulate on behalf of the workers. These conspirators were indicted on federal criminal charges in 2008.