The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division has found Maryland’s Prince George’s County Public Schools system in willful violation of the laws that govern the H-1B temporary foreign worker visa program. In its press release, the DOL indicated that its investigators found that the school system illegally reduced the wages of 1,044 foreign teachers hired under the H-1B program. The school system will be required to pay $4,224,146 in fees and $1,740,000 in civil money penalties. In addition, the school system may be debarred from filing new petitions, requests for extensions or requests for permanent residency for foreign workers under any employment-based visa program.
The significant costs imposed in this case underscore the need for employers to carefully review not only I-9 and E-Verify compliance, but all immigration-related activities including the active sponsorship of workers for temporary work status (such as H-1B and L-1) and for permanent residence (i.e., a green card). For more information about the requirements of the H-1B visa program, review the Wage and Hour Division’s website.