We celebrate the fact that geographic boundaries are being erased as employers choose to locate their offices across the globe and workers migrate to find suitable occupations. These changes require both employers and employees to be aware of the laws and regulations which govern such relocations.
This topic is vast and encompasses a great deal, but we will keep it simple here by focusing on employing foreign workers in America. The United States does not condone the violation of its labor laws, by anyone, on its soil. Just ask Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, who is facing visa fraud charges for having falsified the payment information of her domestic help brought in from India to New York. So, it is necessary for employers to toe the line, even when they employ foreign nationals who are willing to accept paltry wages and poor working conditions.
Let us look at some of these requirements:
All these legal requirements try not to disturb the delicate balance between fulfilling the need of employers to recruit the right talent, and protecting the working conditions and wages available to all American workers.
While most feel that the regulations in place to protect the rights of workers in America, may question whether enforcement of these laws is sufficient to serve as a deterrent to those who would take advantage of foreign workers for personal gain. Recently, ‘Electronics for Imaging’, a multinational corporation, brought eight workers from India to install computer systems in their offices, paying them the equivalent of $1.21 an hour in Indian rupees (plus their regular salaries back home). These workers were required to work 120 hours a week at no extra pay! The company also admitted that it somehow “overlooked the fact that even foreign workers will have to be paid by local American standards”! When found to be in violation, it cost the company $3500 in fines. The company must also pay nearly $40000 in owed wages to each of the workers. Many find this to be too light a punishment.
With elections less than a week away, many politicians are running on a platform that includes fair wages and working conditions for all workers. Many speak to the new state legislations that they would champion. The question seldom asked is, “What will you do to ensure that the existing legislation is aggressively enforced?”
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