New Jersey Firm Slapped on the Wrist for Cheating H-1B Workers

By David North on September 17, 2020

According to New Jersey news site, a largish New Jersey-based "rent-a-programmer" firm has been slapped on the wrist because it:

failed to pay many of its H-1B recruits their required wages between January 2014 and June 2018. Authorities also alleged that the company broke the law by requiring security deposits from workers before Savantis would submit their H-1B applications.

Savantis Solutions, LLC, based in suburban Edison, N.J., agreed in a settlement with the U.S. attorney's office to: A) obey the immigration law in the future; B) pay $345,000 in restitution and back interest to its cheated employees; and C) retain a law firm to see to it that it obeys the immigration and federal labor laws for the next three years.

Savantis' website proclaims it has more than 750 employees, more than 240 clients, and operates on six continents. The myvisajobs website indicates that in the years 2018, 2019, and the first eight months of 2020, Savantis filed for 591 new H-1B workers, probably getting about one-third of that number in the H-1B lottery. Thus it is no small enterprise and the $345,000 is chump change.

We have often posted articles about H-1B outsourcing companies like Savantis cheating their Indian workers — once there were three such scandals in 12 days — but this time there are two new and different angles.

The first of these is the mix of names; usually the firm in trouble has people with Indian names cheating H-1Bs with similar names. But Savantis is different; its webpage under "Our Leadership Team" shows five pictures of males with non-Indian names, such as its CEO, Keith Honz, and three males with Indian names, such as Ravi Eluri, vice president and head of U.S. staffing.

The second difference is the strong possibility that the law firm that it must retain to monitor its hiring behavior will take in more money than the aggrieved H-1Bs. I can easily see a $10,000/month retainer demanded by the (as yet unnamed) law firm. That outfit might well bill a single lawyer at the rate of $400 an hour, for 25 hours a month. It would tell the client: "If we bill less, the feds might not believe that we are doing a good job."

That would come to $360,000, over three years, as opposed to the $345,000 in restitution Savantis will provide to its H-1B workers.