Are H1B workers underpaid, mistreated?
Washington, Mar 9: A large number of the most active users of the work-visa program, known as H-1B visas, have been accused of underpaying or otherwise mistreating workers.
A few years ago, Patni computers paid $2.4 million to 607 H1B visa workers after a Labor Department investigation uncovered systematic underpayment of wages.
In 2004, Vishal Goel had high hopes of moving from his native India to the US to work as a computer programmer. He approached Patni Computer Systems. Patni agreed to apply for a US work visa on his behalf. By 2004, Goel was working for Patni at State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance.
But this was no dream job come true. Goel's base salary was $23,310, about half the $44,000 that Patni had said it would pay on the visa application, according to a lawsuit he has filed against the company.
When Goel complained, one official said that Patni would brand him a 'troublemaker' and that his parents in India would be harassed unless he stopped, the suit alleges.
Goel, who left Patni in 2005, filed suit in Nov, 2007, in federal court in Illinois. Patni denied the charges.
The Goel lawsuit is one of the first filed in US courts by a visa worker against his employer.