What’s the State of Play Today?
- Low unemployment rates and a shortage of STEM talent continue to drive visa sponsorship of foreign workers by US employers.
- H-1B visas have a ceiling of six years, unless workers are sponsored by their employers for “green cards” early in the process (typically by year four).
- Many employers, particularly in the tech arena, are offering foreign workers “green card” sponsorship as of the start date with the company as a recruitment incentive.
- Companies sponsoring workers for employment-based green cards are required to show as part of the application process that they couldn’t find any qualified American workers to fill the job, a job market testing program known as “PERM” sponsorship.
- A major technology company agreed on October 19, 2021 to pay a financial penalty of up to $14.25 million, which includes $4.75 million to the US government and up to $9.5 million to eligible victims of alleged discrimination.
- The government’s suit claimed that the company had illegally reserved jobs for foreign workers it was sponsoring for permanent residence instead of searching for and considering available US workers.
- The Department of Justice complaint alleged that the company improperly deviated from normal recruiting standards by requiring applications for PERM-sponsored roles to be mailed to the company rather than, as was the standard practice for general recruiting, submitted online.
- The complaint further alleged that the company did not post these positions on its careers website, as was its standard practice for general recruiting, which appeared to result in very low numbers of US worker applications for the PERM roles.
- The Department of Labor (DOL) also executed a settlement with the company based on its audit of certain of the company’s pending PERM applications, in which the company agreed to engage in additional notice and recruitment for US workers and as a result of which the company will face ongoing audits by DOL.
- As part of the settlements, the government will monitor the company’s PERM program for the next three years, and DOL will conduct additional audits of the company’s PERM filings.
Continue Reading Sponsoring Foreign Workers for Green Cards in 2021: Top 10 Issues for Employers to Validate in the Wake of a $14.25 Million Financial Settlement