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DoJ beats up tech firm for H-1B only job ads

Small fine, humiliation by press release

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A Pittsburgh computer consultancy is paying $45,000 in civil penalties over claims it discriminated against legal US residents by advertising only for developers on H-1B visas.

The case was brought against iGate Mastech for placing an ad for 30 programmers between May and June 2006 "that expressly favored H-1B visa holders to the exclusion of US citizens, lawful permanent citizens and other legal US workers" according to the US Department of Justice.

So-called citizenship status discrimination is prohibited by the US Immigration and Nationality Act. The DoJ said it is "committed to protection the right of all authorized workers in the United States against citizenship status discrimination".

The complaint was one of many brought in 2006 by the US Programmers Guild against employers for specifying H1-B visa holders only to fill job vacancies.

According to the Guild's website, employers "love" H-1B aliens because they work longer hours for lower wages and also because it's harder for workers on a visa to switch jobs. The Guild called it a "fiction" that the United States suffers a shortage of skilled labor, as "most" H-1B aliens fill entry-level jobs.

Companies seeking only H-1B workers ois a serious problem, according to Guild founder John Miano. "We are only scratching the surface right now with the companies that are brazen enough to put out ads like these," he told Computerworld. ®

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