FAIRBORN, Ohio (WDTN) – A federal investigation is underway at Wright State University. We told you it concerns a visa program that allows the school to hire people from other countries, in specialized areas.
2 NEWS Investigates is digging into why it’s landed Wright State in the hot seat with the federal government.
The main point of a H-1B visa is to allow highly trained foreign employees the opportunity to work for a specific company in the United States for a few years. It’s a controversial program but one that the IT industry, colleges and universities have been using for a while.
The H-1B Visa program is supposed to work like this: The foreign employee is allowed to work in the United States for up to six years, but they have to be trained in a specific area..something like biotechnology or computer science.
That employee has to have a bachelor’s degree and also has to be paid at least equal to the wages paid to others in the company in similar positions.
That’s in place to ensure the employees are not taking jobs away from Americans by agreeing to work for less. They have to continue working for the company they signed on with initially or they could be sent back to the country they were from.
That is the area Wright State is being investigated for. According to a statement released by the University’s President, there is credible evidence that suggests not every H1-B employee the university sponsored actually worked at the university. That is against federal law. Wright State says it has attorneys working to uncover the facts and have removed two employees from their posts and fired a third.
In a statement, President David Hopkins and Board of Trustees Chairman, Michael Bridges said, “people expect great universities to do great things, but they also expect us to follow the rules. We want to comply with the law in every facet of what we do. But there are times when every human enterprise falls short of that goal. When that happens, those responsible must be held accountable.”
They’re not releasing any further information until the federal investigation is complete.
A violation of an H-1B Visa is serious issue for the Department of Labor. The rules in place are there to make sure companies are not replacing qualified American workers.
Federal authorities have investigated other agencies for violations before. In 2009, they cracked down on an IT company. They arrested 11 people and sought millions of dollars in forfeitures.