Photo: Prince George County Public Schools
In 2005 Maryland’s Prince George County Public Schools (PGCPS) needed teachers to comply with the new standards put in place with the “No Child Left Behind” law, so it went on a hiring binge.
They recruited and hired teachers mostly from foreign countries and secured the teachers by obtaining H-1B temporary visas – and that is why they are in trouble now with the federal government.
An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found (PGCPS) in willful violation of the laws that govern the H-1B temporary foreign worker visa program.
Investigators found that PGCPS illegally reduced the wages of 1,044 foreign teachers hired under the H-1B program by requiring the payment of $4,224,146 in fees. The Labor Department is responsible for ensuring H-1B workers are paid in accordance with the law and that employers do not misuse visa programs in ways that adversely affect U.S. workers.
The H-1B program allows employers to hire foreign professionals to work temporarily in the U.S. So that the wages of similarly employed U.S. workers are not adversely affected, workers hired under the H-1B program must be paid at least the same wage rates and benefits as those paid to U.S. workers doing the same job in the same area.
Due to the willful nature of some of the violations, PGCPS has been assessed $1,740,000 in civil money penalties and may be debarred from participating in the H-1B visa program.