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Labor Dept. IG: Foreign Worker Programs Still Susceptible To Fraud

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The inner watchdog on the Department of Labor (DOL) released a report final week which reveals how an “aggregation of known vulnerabilities” in four of 6 packages used to rent international employees go away them “highly susceptible to fraud.” In its assessment of greater than 15 years of audits and investigative work, the DOL’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) offered a sobering have a look at ongoing abuses and the betrayal of the American employee.

In 2003, the DOL OIG issued a “white paper” that rang the primary alarm bells about how international labor certification packages have been open to abuse. The new report is a assessment of audits and different investigative work carried out since then and decided that the everlasting labor certification (PERM), and three non permanent international employee packages – the H-1B, H-2A and H-2B – all stay open to fraud and abuse.

In “Overview of Vulnerabilities and Challenges in Foreign
Labor Certification Programs,” the OIG lays out how inefficiencies, poor
administration and outdated rules give latitude to employers to violate the packages’
necessities. The report acknowledged that the 4 packages all “face numerous
challenges and vulnerabilities” however made notice of two of the 4.

The OIG referred to as consideration the unconscionable proven fact that with
regard to H-1B employees, DOL “can solely deny incomplete and clearly inaccurate
purposes and conduct complaint-based investigations, challenges in
defending the welfare of the nation’s workforce.” Then there may be the PERM
program, which the report acknowledged “relentlessly has employers not complying with
the qualifying standards.”

In addition to willful violations by employers, reminiscent of paying
employees lower than the established wage price or not using a employee within the
job for which they have been accredited, some vulnerabilities are a results of pure
authorities incompetence.

For instance, previous to submitting an utility for a international employee with the DOL’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA), an employer is required to place an commercial in a newspaper on two totally different Sundays to tell Americans of the work alternative. In at present’s LinkedIn world and on-line recruiting, can a weekly newspaper advertisement actually be thought of an sincere try to search out native-born labor? No, and it’s a signal of what the OIG referred to as the PERM program’s “outdated” rules.

In addition, the report added {that a} majority of its
purposes are reviewed “without any supporting documentation” and that as
lengthy as “employers are usually not complying with the qualifying standards or situations
of employment, the PERM program nonetheless stays extremely vulnerable to fraud.”

Over the final 12 months, the DOL has addressed among the
ongoing issues about international labor packages by rising worksite
enforcement efforts and has used the regulatory course of to strengthen employee
protections.

The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division has been extra aggressive in holding employers accountable for violating program necessities. Last Friday, for instance, it was announced {that a} Mississippi fish farm needed to pay $30,963 in again wages to 38 workers after they have been discovered to have violated necessities of the H-2A visa program, which brings in non permanent agricultural international labor.

But figuring out circumstances of fraud shouldn’t be sufficient if there is no such thing as a accountability. The OIG called upon the Department final month to extend its exclusion of “unscrupulous employers” with a purpose to “ensure the full protection of U.S. and foreign workers and employers who followed laws and regulations and hold violators accountable.”

For greater than 15 years, deeply-flawed international labor packages have allowed employees to be exploited and law-abiding companies to be cheated. The “cures” haven’t made the system more healthy and should have even worsened the illness. The incoming Biden administration and members of Congress should severely take into account whether or not one of the best pursuits of American employees are served by these fraud-ridden packages.

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