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Indian-American owned companies fined for misuse of H1B visa

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Washington: Two Silicon Valley companies owned by an Indian-American have been ordered to pay USD 103,000 in fines to the federal government and USD 84,000 in back wages to its employees carrying H-1B visas.

The two companies — Scopus Consulting Group and Orian Engineers — owned by Indian-American Kishore Kumar, bring workers from India and other countries on H-1B visas to employ them as software engineers for Silicon Valley firms such as eBay, Apple and Cisco Systems.

During investigations, US Department of Labor Wage and Hour investigators found that the two companies violated the H-1B provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act by misrepresenting the prevailing wage level on the Labor Condition Applications required by the act, an official release said yesterday.

Federal Administrative Law Judge Stephen R Henley ordered the two businesses owned by Kishore Kumar to pay 21 workers USD 84,000 in back wages and USD 103,000 in fines to the federal government.

“Some of the country’s most cutting-edge, successful organisations benefit from underpaid H-1B workers,” director for the Wage and Hour Division in San Francisco, Susana Blanco said.

“H-1B workers must be paid local prevailing wages. We will not allow companies to undercut local wages and hurt US workers and businesses who pay their workers fairly,” Blanco said.

The employers also recruited experienced workers, most of whom have master’s degrees, and paid them as entry level employees.

“Both firms have been debarred from H-1B program participation for one year,” the statement said.