back to article IT staffing, recruitment biz settles claims it discriminated against Americans

Amtex Systems Incorporated, an IT staffing and recruiting firm based in New York City, has agreed to settle claims it discriminated against American workers because company clients wanted workers with temporary visas. The US Department of Justice on Wednesday announced the agreement, which followed from a US citizen filing a …

  1. HildyJ Silver badge
    WTF?

    WTF DoJ?

    "Amtex SI has agreed to pay $15,000 in civil penalties"

    This s embarrassingly low. How about $15,000 per visa applicant they approved?

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: WTF DoJ?

      At the very least.

      1. NoneSuch Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: WTF DoJ?

        It's my experience that Ex-Pats work much harder than their American counterparts. Expats don't have their faces buried in their phone screen six hours a day or spend their week during business hours chatting to friends exclusively about planning their weekends. They are focusing on their job and doing it bloody well.

        1. Juillen 1

          Re: WTF DoJ?

          There's a very good reason that anecdotal evidence is the weakest of all possibilities.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We know what you did last summer

    "... yet did not ask for or obtain any evidence that the clients had a legal justification for those preferences, ..."

    So as part of the agreement, all correspondence with the 'clients' requesting non-domestic employees has been turned over to investigators and those 'clients' will next be publicized and fined, right?

  3. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Companies may seek out workers under temporary work visas because they cost less to employ.

    Thanks God slavery was abolished, or some companies would still import slaves to gain money

    "H-2B employers like the H-2B program because they are legally permitted to pay H-2B workers less than similarly situated US workers"

    I don't get it: why not closing the loophole, and making mandatory to pay workers the same may they be US workers or H-2B workers? That would solve the problem, wouldn't it?

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Don't be silly - no problem is solved until the lawyers have their huge payment.

      [to: looking at the letter and going 'tsk, tsk': $1000]

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >That would solve the problem, wouldn't it?

      Yes but it would make it rather less profitable to run say a luxury hotel in New York

      1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

        Not sure about New York. But Seattle has a minimum wage law which does not consider immigration status. So, no lower pay.

        But since a good chunk of an employee's compensation is in the form of allocations for health care, disability, child care, union required benefits, etc, companies like to hire young people who, should it appear that their actual cost begins to rise, can just be put back on the boat.

        Amazon and Starbucks are probably dreaming about staffing like this.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          But while you might 'physically' be cleaning toilets in a Trump Hotel in New York, you are on-paper working in the British Virgin Islands / Narnia so NY wage laws don't apply

        2. Juillen 1

          It's a minimum wage law, not a minimum per profession law.

          The issue is that the H1B/H2B etc. are used to reduce the pay in professions where the pay is significantly above minimum wage. If the average wage for a profession is, say, $100k, then under the H1B/H2B, you could probably get away with paying less than $60k. Some of this talent pool may be very good, but often the companies hiring via this route are after bums to fill seats at lowest possible price, so aren't very good at picking the gems out of the dead wood.

    3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      When I was moved to the US from the UK in the mid-70's I was getting $10,000 a year ... so the article is accurate but I'm not complaining because, since I was so cheap to employ, the company was happy to pay me to fly back to the UK every year to renew the H1-B visa. And they sent me off to many educational courses leading me to learn a lot of things that the UK company had never bothered about.

      The downside was that I had to stop smoking entertaining substances, but the upside was that I could go to Grateful Dead concerts all the time.

    4. lnLog
      Big Brother

      Slavery has not been completely abolished, it is still allowed for prisoners, hence the large numbers of such low cost workers.

      "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction"

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        The trouble is that most of these prisoners are pretty low skill, so even if you don't pay them it's of limited economic benefit to make license plates.

        If you were to imprison more Derivatives Traders / Movie Actors / Popular Music Artistes - then you could turn a much better profit from the slave labour

    5. rcxb1

      > making mandatory to pay workers the same may they be US workers or H-2B workers? That would solve the problem, wouldn't it?

      No, that will just result in employers putting effort into finding ways around it. For example, come up with some reason the US workers are all doing a slightly different job description than the non-US workers who are paid less.

      Pretty common with H1-B visa hires... Lay-off your US worker and hire an H1-B visa holder, but it's not replacing the job position (which is strictly illegal under the H1-B program) because the new position required one extra certification the half-priced foreigner had. Nobody ever gets prosecuted for doing this despite the obvious illegality.

      One of the reasons Trump got elected was his (empty) promise to end the H1-B system, while no other candidates expressed any intention of reforming the system, and in fact were looking to expand it. Tech companies love the H1-B program, and they happen to contribute a lot of money to political candidates...

  4. LDS Silver badge

    "reached numerous settlements"

    These lead nowhere. Company will cough up some money, and since they not admitted anything, and weren't find guilt of anything, will return to business as usual.

    All of this shows how the legal system is the US is broken. Even justice became something you can trade.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: "reached numerous settlements"

      America has the best government money can buy!

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: "reached numerous settlements"

        >America has the best government money can buy!

        Really, this is the best you can buy?

        Are we sure, can we bring in some H1Bs instead ?

  5. sreynolds Silver badge

    They are a cartel...

    Recruitment industry that is. This happens in Europe and also in Oceania and is widely known yet nothing is done about it.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Re: They are a cartel...

      "This happens in Europe and also in Oceania and is widely known yet nothing is done about it."

      And nothing ever will. The recruitment industry is giving Big Business what they want: cheap labor. Big Business makes sure that the cheap labor force is always available thanks to (spending money on) lobbying for programs like H-1B, and the recruitment industry simply comes in and fills the requirement of slave cheap, expendable and replaceable labor.

      As was said above, close the loophole on sleazebag companies using the law to underpay workers, and the recruitment industry will die on the vine.

  6. MiguelC Silver badge

    There are always holes to be found in legislation

    They cannot specify immigration status or nationality. But they could require applicants to speak Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Odia, Punjabi or Assamese. Other (legal) sets of requirements might filter it down even more.

  7. Ace2 Bronze badge

    H1-B is stoopid

    The H1-Bs I know are college-educated, work hard, pay taxes, own houses and cars, and send their kids to school. They should be offered citizenship, with no more than 1-2 years waiting.

    Currently, people who come over here with small children need to plan ahead for what happens when the kid turns 18 but the paperwork hasn’t come through yet. The waiting list for greencards is that long - decades!

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