Indian American Mani Chhabra, founder and CEO of Cloudwick Technologies in East Bay, California, must pay $175,000 to 12 Indian H-1B employees after the U.S. Department of Labor discovered that they were being hugely underpaid.
According to an official release from the department, Chhabra had hired Indian workers on H-1B visas, offering guaranteed salaries of up to $8,300 per month however, the department alleged that the company paid them just $800 per month, a violation of the work visa program.
“Investigators found that the company paid impacted employees well below the wage levels required under the H-1B program based on job skill level, and also made illegal deductions from workers’ salaries,” the department said.
“As a result, some of the H-1B employees that Cloudwick brought from India with promised salaries of up to $8,300 per month instead received as little as $800 net per month,” it added.
The Mercury News reported that Chhabra said the Department of Labor had misinterpreted some facts about how the company uses its H-1B workers.
“Cloudwick has never brought resources from India. All the resources are Master’s students that have educated in U.S. and then we hired and trained them,” Chhabra told The Mercury News adding that the issue arose only because there were changes in the visa system and that he paid his employees $800 only during their training period.
Chhabra also said that Cloudwick Technologies had to illegally deduct money for the advanced training for four of the employees, “this is not allowed for H-1B and we paid them back wages.”
The Department of Labor’s investigation as to how the H-1B abuse came about and how long it was going on is still ongoing.
According to the official website of Cloudwick, it is a provider of bimodal digital business services and provides solutions to the Global 1000 companies with clients including 3M, Bank of America, Comcast, Home Depot, Intuit, JP Morgan, NetApp, Target, Visa and Walmart.