Techsploitation, Part Two: Federal contracts: Federal tech contracts awarded to job brokers with labor violations

Jennifer Gollan and Matt Smith, Techsploitation, Part Two: Federal tech contracts awarded to job brokers with labor violations. The Center for Investigative Reporting27 October 2014. This “yearlong probe by The Center for Investigative Reporting found that porous federal oversight allows these labor brokers to financially exploit workers with little fear of detection. It turns out that those that are caught can continue to survive and thrive–including on the taxpayers’ dime.” Published with The Guardian and NBC Bay Area.

Excerpts from story:

The Gist:

The federal government has awarded contracts and other benefits worth nearly half a billion dollars since 2000 to tech labor brokers cited for violating laws related to the temporary visa program known as H-1B.

Since 2000, nearly 20 percent of the technology labor brokers and tech firms cited for violating the H-1B visa program have received federal contracts, payments and other government support.

The Department of Homeland Security and Department of Labor are among the agencies that have looked past H-1B violations or failed to check the record.

Even labor brokers facing the ultimate penalty for H-1B labor violations–debarment from the temporary visa program–found ways back in.

Other pieces in this investigation:

Jennifer Gollan and Matt Smith, Case study: Saras America. The Center for Investigative Reporting, 27 October 2014. “Saras America, a technology consulting company based in Michigan, imported Indian immigrants to the United States for specific tech jobs but then failed to compensate them when no work was available or while they were waiting for their next assignments, federal regulators found. The company required the temporary tech workers to officially “report to work,” but didn’t pay them – for up to five months. Saras is among the few niche recruitment companies that got into trouble for mistreating Indian workers – and yet it continued to survive and thrive.”

Matt Smith, Graphic novel: Techsploitation. The Center for Investigative Reporting, 27 October 2014. This graphic novel tells the true story of an Indian tech worker who has big dreams of a job in the U.S. but finds himself under the thumb of a shady labor broker.”

Matt Smith and Jennifer Gollan, 5 tricks tech staffing firms use to exploit immigrant workersThe Center for Investigative Reporting, 30 October 2014. Here’s a breakdown of the main tactics manipulative job brokers use to treat immigrant tech workers like indentured servants.”

Matt Smith, Silicon Valley tech workers locked in jobs with dubious legal tactics. The Center for Investigative Reporting, 31 October 2014. California’s high-tech industry is famous for friendly methods for holding on to talented workers. But it also has become a hub for less generous retention practices: freezing employees in place and depressing wages by pushing legal boundaries.”