I cannot tell you the number of times per week I’m contacted by pimps working for consulting firms which are willingly and knowingly breaking federal labor laws. The lower the grasp of the English language, the more intent they are on committing the crime. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do about it.
The first thing you can do is direct their attention to the illegal alien wage calculator:
After you choose a location and a code from the list, it will tell you the absolute minimum you can pay a visa worker without instantly going to prison. Of course, this is the Utopian “you don’t have anybody else with a similar job title working for you” Utopia. They can’t be working on-site either. That means, when you lease that one desk from your client to deliberately violate the H1-B worker rules, your minimum is subject to all the wages paid at that location, whether or not they are paid by you.
Remember the earlier post on this site which contained the following:
In order to comply with the first attestation, the employer must attest that it will pay its H-1B employees the higher of the following:
The actual wage rate that it pays to all other individuals with similar experience and qualifications, and
The prevailing wage level for the occupation in the geographic area of employment.
This is designed to ensure that an H-1B employer won’t undercut its competitors (because it must pay the prevailing wage). At the same time, an employer already paying higher than normal wages to its work force must pay those same wages to its H-1B workers.
Just for laughs, I selected the location of Warren, NJ and chose code 15-1031 for computer programmer. Keep in mind this is a generic rate for programmers of all walks, even those without marketable skills. The level 4 rate (having some experience) was 45.82. A rate which, when advertized is dramatically below prevailing wage. How do we find prevailing wage?
We go to Ask.com and search for this: “computer programmer prevailing wage Warren NJ”
One of the links which turns up takes us here: http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/lpa/employ/oeswage/oeswage_index.html
When you scroll down and click on “By Major Industry Sector” for Warren County, you get a PDF. Line 126 is the line of interest since that would be the wholesale rate paid a consultant. Boy is it interesting! 58.25 is the Mean Hourly Wage with 54.75 being paid the bottom 25 th percentile and 59.40 being paid the 50 th percentile and 64.30 being paid the 75 th percentile. Keep in mind that these are averaged billing rates! The outliers have already been smoothed. The $145/hr mainframe programmer with 20+ years of experience has already pulled up the $17/hr DBASE-III programmer.
The real problem with these spreadsheets is how the data is obtained. Most of it comes from salary survey forms sent out to companies, and I don’t find any random audits being applied to responding companies, nor could I find posted the fines and penalties of not responding. Hence, it is to the company’s advantage to fabricate lower numbers than their employees actually make even if they never bring in a single visa worker. These numbers are public information and when your employees find out the Mean wage for their skill set is twice what they are currently making, they will be taking a hike.
What I really want to see is the IRS publishing this information. For those people who work W-2, they have the stubs. They have the actual amounts paid and they know your employer category. They only need one additional piece of information which may already be on your W-2, job classification. After that, they can generate an accurate spreadsheet for every geoloc code. Every amount listed will have come from W-2, so all will know that 1099 and corp-corp rates are higher.
What happens when they aren’t? You use this link: http://www.dol.gov/whd/contactform.asp
Most of the visa abuse today happens because people don’t bother to file complaints with Wage and Hour. When they do, we get to read stories like this: