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Firm in H-1B case looks to hire only U.S. workers

Patrick Thibodeau | Dec. 14, 2010
Peri Software says increased use of U.S. workers leads to a 'marked improvement in client satisfaction'

In a statement, Nancy J. Leppink, deputy administrator of the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division, said that "Peri Software not only took advantage of these workers by not properly compensating them, it also violated the part of the law that provides the greatest protection to the American workforce.

"When companies participating in the H-1B program do not post filed labor condition applications, they clearly undercut American workers who may be qualified for available employment but aren't aware of it," said Leppink.

Peri was an H-1B dependent employer, a designation under which the Labor Department imposes additional recruitment requirements . Companies designated an H-1B dependent employer meet certain thresholds, such as companies of 50 employees or more with at least 15% of the staff holding H-1B visas.

Labor Department rules state that "the H-1B employer is not required to recruit U.S. workers, unless it is H-1B-dependent."

McQuade took exception to Leppink's statement, and called it a "gross misrepresentation or overstatement of the facts." He didn't dispute the facts of the case, just the editorializing over a consent decree that had simply outlined the terms of the agreement without comment.

In October, Peri had said it had hired new legal counsel for immigration issues and installed a new management team "to oversee its hiring of H-1B workers."

In a statement at the time, Sarav Periasamy, Peri president and CEO, said the company "is committed to exceeding whatever it takes to ensure that we are in full compliance."

He also said that the company has "also launched a training program in an effort to boost the number of American employees. This will reduce offshore hiring and help Peri become a model for the industry nationally."

McQuade said the company's goal now "is to rely on U.S. workers 100%."

The decision to hire U.S. workers "is not because of the consent order," said McQuade. "The whole strategy to hire all American workers has been in the works at Peri long before the DOL issues surfaced."

And according to Periasamy, said McQuade, "it has been a challenge in finding engineers in America with the right skills for the last 10 years."

The reason for hiring U.S. workers is simple, said McQuade. "Obviously, the workers are happier, more productive when they work in their own country, can be closer to their own family and culture," he said. The company plans to boost its training in the U.S. as part of the effort.


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