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Maltreated H-1B Visa Holders: Fact Or Fiction?

A few IT body shops seem to be coercing their H-1B visa-holding employees from quitting with the threat of legal action.

A few IT body shops seem to be coercing their H-1B visa-holding employees from quitting with the threat of legal action.On my desk is a copy of an employment contract from an IT body shop that specializes in H-1B workers. One contract provision would require the visa holder to pay an $8,000 fee to recover the costs of H-1B sponsorship if the worker quits within a year. Another provision threatens to inform the feds if the visa holder quits within a year, stating that such action constitutes fraud for the purposes of obtaining permanent residency. Some lawyers question the legality of either provision and suggest neither is enforceable. And they say those provisions are merely attempts to intimidate visa holders ignorant about U.S. law and keep them from quitting.

The practical effect of these provisions, some say, is indentured servitude. How widespread is this practice? I'm not sure, but perhaps you can help. If you're an H-1B visa holder working in IT, we'd like to hear your story. Drop me a line at or post your story in the box below.

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