Before I get into the meat and potatoes of this post, let me make it very clear that I do not practice
U.S. Immigration Law nor am I certified to give legal advice on H1B
But after a little research on the internet, I found what the U.S. Department of Labor has to say about the rules and rights for temporary immigrant workers who have H1B visas or other temporary work authorizations.
While I have been writing this article, I have found that understanding US Immigration Law and getting H1B jobs and H1B visas is a tough gig.
Imagine being in this economy trying to find a job knowing many companies are not hiring. And the ones who are hiring are not hiring professionals with H1B visas.
This can be a real buzz kill when all of your family is back home and you have little resources to rely on here in the states. But have no fear, because people are managing and some are doing very well!
And the better you know your rights, the easier it will be to navigate the employment landscape.
So how many foreign born workers are there in the US?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 29 million foreign born workers in the United States as of 2009. That is 15% of the overall workforce.
The unemployment rate for foreign born workers is .05% higher than their local counterparts. And the one’s who are employed make about 21% less in wages.
About 50% of the foreign born workforce is Hispanic and another 20% is Asian.
You can read the full report here: BLS Labor Force Characteristics
So now that you have an idea of how you fit in to the greater employment landscape in the U.S., what are your rights as a foreign born temporary worker?
1. The employer must give the worker a copy of the LCA.
2. The employer must pay the worker at least the same wage rate as paid to other employees with similar experience and qualifications or the local prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of
employment, whichever is higher.
3. The employer must pay for non-productive time caused by the employer or by the worker’s lack of a license or permit.
4. The employer must offer the worker fringe benefits on the same basis as its other employees.
5. The employer may not require the worker to pay a penalty for leaving employment prior to any agreed date.
5a. However, this restriction does not preclude the employer from seeking “liquidated damages” pursuant to relevant state law.
6. Provide working conditions for H-1B, H-1B1, or E-3 workers that will not adversely affect the working conditions of workers similarly employed.
Keep in mind that your rights are protected under U.S. Immigration Law whether you are on an H1B Visa or any other work authorization. If you feel that you are being treated unfairly then you can file
complaints at the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.