An investigation by the DOL's Wage and Hour Division found Maryland's Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) system in violation of the H-1B temporary foreign worker visa program.

DOL investigators found that PGCPS illegally reduced the wages of 1,044 foreign teachers hired under the H-1B program by requiring them to use their own money to pay a $500 anti-fraud fee to the Department of Homeland Security, as well as a $1,000 attorney's fee and a $3,500 placement fee. DOL held that under federal law, the school district should have paid those fees.

"All employers, including school systems, are required to follow the law. That includes the legal duty to pay every teacher hired the full wages he or she is owed," said Nancy J. Leppink, acting administrator of the Wage and Hour Division.

Due to the willful nature of some of the violations, PGCPS also was assessed $100,000 in civil money penalties and was debarred for two years from filing new petitions, requests for extensions, or requests for permanent residence for foreign workers under any employment-based visa program. DOL noted that "[v]iolations are willful when an employer knew or acted in reckless disregard [of] whether its actions were impermissible."

Some H-1B employers may be unaware of which fees they must pay andwhich fees an H-1B worker may pay. The DOL's news release is available here.