Amtex Systems Inc., according to the settlement agreement, discriminated against qualified American workers during a number of stages through the recruitment and hiring process. The goal, the settlement states, was to fill U.S. jobs with foreign workers on Optional Practical Training (OPT) visas.
Foreign OPT visa workers are often preferred over Americans by employers because they are cheaper to hire. These workers come with a roughly 15 percent discount as employers are allowed to avoid paying FICA taxes, resulting in a net savings for them of about $20 billion to $30 billion over the years.
The investigation into Amtex was first initiated by DOJ prosecutors when an American citizen filed a discrimination complaint against the firm for preferring foreign OPT visa workers.
“Based on its investigation, the department concluded that Amtex used a company operating in India to identify and screen job applicants based on clients’ preferences for workers with particular citizenship or immigration statuses,” DOJ prosecutors wrote in a news release:
The investigation determined that the recruiters sent job advertisements with their clients’ unlawful citizenship or immigration status preferences, and also implemented those preferences when considering applicants.
The recruiters’ practices harmed U.S. workers by deterring them from applying, and not considering those who did apply. For example, the investigation revealed that Amtex did not consider at least three U.S. workers when they applied to a job posting that stated a preference for workers with temporary employment visas.