After charging a New York-based outsourcing firm for illegally discriminating against U.S. workers, the Department of Justice reached a settlement agreement with the defendants.
Amtex Systems Inc., an IT recruiting and staffing company, was accused of illegally preferring workers with only temporary employment visas. The company is alleged to have discriminated against U.S. workers to the point of requiring an immigration document to move forward towards hiring.
The reason? A roughly 15% discount for avoiding FICA taxes by employing foreign workers.
This loophole results from granting Optional Practical Training (OPT) visas to foreign workers who replace Americans in high-paying STEM fields. U.S. corporations claim a shortage of candidates to fill these positions despite roughly four million young Americans entering the workforce each year.
The federal government found Amtex used a company in India to screen applicants for clients who prefer those with only temporary visas. The illegal acts went so far as to distribute job advertisements with the client’s preferred citizenship or immigration status listed.
DOJ Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Civil Rights Division says agencies are barred from excluding applicants “due to citizenship status.” It’s a sign of the times that these protections are necessary for U.S. workers within the U.S.
In 2021, four U.S. congressmen challenged the practice of trading qualified Americans for cheaper foreign replacements. Reps. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Matt Gaetz (R-FL,) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ) attempted to curb this practice with the Fairness for High-Skilled Americans Act.
Putting American workers on the shelf for cheaper labor, at times with the specter of being forced to train their replacements, is nothing new. H-1B visas, long a part of the immigration system, have in recent years been used by major corporations to avoid hiring “too expensive” U.S. workers.
This is particularly true in tech companies, which have long preached their woke ideologies while simultaneously cutting corners for cheaper labor. What was once a way to recruit hard-to-find specialties is now used for discount foreign labor, and the DOJ found exactly that in New York.
It is comforting to know that, at least in this one case, the rights of U.S. citizens and those legally working towards that status take precedence. And what an image that casts on domestic employers outsourcing jobs internationally to replace qualified Americans.