A Connecticut based landscaping firm was recently fined by the US Department of Labor (DOL) (Press Release ). The company will pay $280,000 in back wages to 80 workers and nine job applicants and $20,000 in civil money penalties.
According to Michelle Garvey, Wage and Hour Division's district director in Hartford, their investigation “found that Ultimate Services Professional Grounds Management's failure to adhere to federal law harmed domestic workers and temporary workers by denying job opportunities for some and denying proper pay for all." Ultimately, the company failed to comply with H-2B temporary visa program provisions during the 2011 – 2012 hiring seasons by not employing most of the U.S. workers listed as "hired" on its recruitment records and underpaying temporary foreign workers. The company signed consent findings approved by the DOL’s Office of Administrative Law Judges and agreed to actively engage in enhanced recruitment of U.S. workers.
The H-2B program is one of several options available through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for guest workers. To qualify for H-2B nonimmigrant classification, the petitioner must establish that:
- There are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.
- The employment of H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
- Its need for the prospective worker’s services or labor is temporary, non-agricultural services on a one-time, seasonal or intermittent basis.
The H-2B program employees are not provided housing. The set limit on the number of aliens who may receive H-2B visa status during each government fiscal year is capped at 66,000 workers.
On March 14, 2014, USCIS received a sufficient number of petitions to reach the congressionally mandated H-2B cap for the first half of Fiscal Year (FY) 2014. March 14, 2014 was the final receipt date for new H-2B worker petitions requesting an employment start date before April 1, 2014. The final receipt date is when we have received enough cap-subject petitions to reach the limit of 33,000 H-2B workers for the first half of FY 2014. This means that there are no longer any spots available from the first half of FY 2014 to carry over to the second half of FY 2014.
Simply put, visa fraud negatively impacts the fight against illegal immigration in our nation. It also creates vulnerabilities in today's marketplace for undocumented workers. Let an experienced IBLF immigration attorney help educate you about the responsible ways to hire authorized workers: (202) 296-1111, Toll Free (800) 844 - IBLF (800 - 844 - 4253) or http://www.iblf.com/.