Employers Face Difficulty Recouping H-1B Costs From Departing Workers Employers make substantial investments in bringing skilled foreign labor to the US by means of H-1B visas. When these employees are terminated or leave their employer for another job offer before their employment engagement is up, it represents a loss to the company that sponsored them. Clawing back some of the costs associated with H-1B visas represents an uphill battle for employers, one best assisted by a qualified immigration lawyer. Denver businesses and companies around the nation hiring employees using H-1B visas would do well to consult with an experienced H-1B attorney before seeking to recover H-1B costs. H-1B visas provide US companies with a means to bring skilled foreign workers to America to work in highly specialized fields. Bringing skilled employees to the US by sponsoring them for an H-1B is costly for employers. US law requires employers to foot the bill for processing fees, which can run between $2,000 and $2,750, depending on the size of the business. The tech industry is large in the West, and many companies in that area bring workers to the US via H-1B visas. Consulting with a Colorado immigration attorney or another attorney in the area helps to expedite this process. Attorneys’ fees associated with obtaining an H-1B visa also run between $1,000 and $3,000, and these costs are typically borne by the employer. Should an employee be terminated or leave employment prior to an agreed-upon employment period, the employer loses that investment. The law limits employers’ ability to recoup money spent on visas by employers. The law does not allow employers to withhold pay or impose a financial penalty on employees who depart before an employment period ends. Employers do have the option of seeking “bona fide liquidated damages,” however. These damages may include business expenses, but cannot include the processing fees paid by the employer to the US government. State law will determine whether damages sought by the employer are “bona fide liquidated damages,” or an unjust penalty. Companies seeking to recover damages from an employee via “bona fide liquidated damages” must: •
Ensure that any deduction or reduction in pay complies with state law and regulatory requirements
Comply with Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division regulations
Be able to withstand scrutiny from the Department of Labor
In summary, Denver employers should not withhold money from departing H-1B employees, or impose penalties, without the advice of a Colorado immigration lawyer experienced in these matters. An attorney can help you best determine how to legally recover any damages you may be entitled to reclaim. About The Law Office of Samira Recob Samira Recob is an experienced immigration attorney, having handled many work visa, family immigration and asylum cases. Recob’s firm specializes in immigration law, and has the skills and expertise to assist in all immigration needs, including H-1B visas, citizenship and naturalization, investor visas, and more.
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