by Cynthia De Castro/Asianjournal.com
THE US Labor Department charged on Tuesday a US medical staffing firm with violating a foreign labor program after it allegedly owed almost three million dollars in back wages to its Filipino workers.
The New York-based Advanced Professional Marketing Inc. (APMI) and its president, Marissa Beck, were charged by the department with violating provisions of an immigration law that authorized employers to bring non-immigrant workers into the United States under the H-1B program.
An investigation by the department discovered that APMI has underpaid 156 H-1B guest workers from the Philippines employed as physical therapists in hospitals and other medical facilities in the New York metropolitan area. The department directed APMI and Beck to return almost three million dollars in back wages to the Filipino workers.
The department sent a “determination letter” enumerating the results of the probe on March 11, assessing penalties totaling 512,000 dollars for the alleged violations by the company.
Advanced Professional Marketing Inc and Beck could request a hearing on the issue before a US Labor Department administrative law judge within 15 days, the statement said.
The H-1B program permits employers to temporarily hire foreign workers for jobs in the United States in professional occupations such as computer programmers, engineers, physicians and teachers. However, the H-1B workers must be paid at least the same wage rates as are paid to US workers who perform the same types of work or the prevailing wages in the areas of intended employment.