Scenarios where H1B employee does not receive their monthly salary

There are very few H1B visa sponsoring employers who starts paying the salary from the day the consultant ( H1B candidate) arrives in the USA, and there are countless H1B visa employers ( we call them cheaters and looters) who violate the law of the land ( USA) by not paying these foreign workers (H1B visa person) during bench period.

Most of these visa sponsoring employers are IT recruitment companies ( also known as IT consulting companies ) with a significant business interest of selling IT expertise of foreign worker ( H1B visa holder) to other companies and that’s how these IT consulting companies(H1B employer) makes the money.And, H1B employee becomes a cash cow for them.

If you don’t know anything about bench pay/salary then please review the inside/out questions on H1B bench policy.

Here are the most frequent scenario where H1B employer( IT consulting company) finds a way NOT to pay the H1B employee the legal salary.

Bench Period for Freshers

Employees do not get paid on bench

  • When Kartik arrived from India to the USA to start working on H1B visa , he stayed at his friend’s apartment. And, his H1B employer ( let us call that employer Dhokha Concepts) never helped in obtaining driving license, social security number , opening bank account. These are important things to have instead; Dhokha Concepts relied on Kartik’s friend. When Kartik asked for official email ID , his request was refused ( official email ID would have established the employer-employee relation, employer is pretty smart about that ) . Employer ( Dhokha Concepts) tried to find a consulting assignment for Kartik at the highest rate because instead of marketing at reasonable rate , Dhokha Concepts wanted to maximize the profit. Since, Kartik is new in this country, employer knew that there was no way he would be able to transfer his H1B visa to another company. In this whole exercise of earning more money, Kartik remained on bench for 3 full month and Dhokha Concepts simply refused to provide anything that would establish the employer-employee relationship during those 3 months. When Kartik begged that I can’t leave free with my friend Chintan, my family is starving in India, that’s when Dhokha Concepts paid $1500 dollar for 2 months of stay. If you convert it in Indian Rupees , it seems a lot but believe us a person working in sandwich shop in USA would earn four times more than what’s called Stipend.
  • When Nishit came from India, he stayed in a over crowded guest house ( a dinky size apartment) rented by his employer Dhokha Concepts. Dhokha Concepts helped Nishit in obtaining social security number and opening bank account.but did not establish any employer-employee relation as such. Dhokha Concepts provided $250 a month stipend so that Nishit can buy grocery for himself to cook at apartment.

Bench Period between projects

  • Nishit’s year long contractual assignment with the Dhokha Concepts ‘ client in Houston, Texas ended. Dhokha Concepts refused to pay any salary to Nishit during the bench. When Nishit said that it’s a law and as my H1B employer you must pay me my salary. Instead of paying the salary , Dhokha Concepts manager Warren ( Varun ) threatened Nishit to keep his mouth shut and told Nishit that you should be thankful to us that we have kept you in this country , technically you are out of status from H1B visa point of view because of bench period but no one knows about it. We will not report it to anyone and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not have a time to go through each and every pay stub so no one knows about it and you are good. If you want to stay in the USA while maintaining your H1B visa status then instead of asking for the bench pay , start cooperating with us.
  • Nishit was on bench for 2 to 3 months, now his employer Dhokha Concepts found the new contract for him. But Dhokha Concepts knew that Nishit is getting more knowledgeable about Dhokha Concepts illegal practices and he might complain, if not now may be sometime in future causing Dhokha Concepts a bigger trouble. To avoid such a risk, Dhokha Concepts requested Nishit to give it in writing that Nishit took unpaid vacation from Dhokha Concepts of those 3 months. By generating such a paper trail, poor Nishit closed the door for forever to get the bench salary back.

Stipend

H1B employee waiting for salary

  • All of a sudden the H1B employer finds the H1B employee’s IT skill worthless. Against wish and will of the H1B employer, and in order to get the better billing rate , the H1B employer forces the H1B employee to acquire new IT skills. The jobless ( most likely on bench) H1B fellow starts learning new IT skills, for him/her it is a question of survival. H1B employer uses training reason not to pay any bench salary. Instead of getting the full salary the jobless H1B person gets a stipend of $500 to $1000 per month. Also s/he has to live in the company paid rental apartment ( which is already crowded with many other H1B folks on bench ) or arrange a place to stay on his own. The days are not far away that the same H1B employee will become a cash cow for this H1B employer, yet this greedy employer do not miss any opportunity to taunt the employee that by paying the stipend and free stay in the rental apartment , the employer is giving you a big favor.

Payback of Paycheck

  • Payback of a paycheck is a very sophisticated scheme where H1B employer stays absolutely clean on the payroll. In this scheme, employer pays the H1B employee regular salary and then asks H1B employee to cash it out and return the salary in hard cash. What H1B employee is asked to return is the amount deposited in H1B employee’s bank account by H1B visa sponsoring employer. See how paychecks are purchased for more information.

Forgiveness

  • When Kartik arrived in USA, he remained on bench for 3 months. During these 3 months he had dreamt about that one day he would drag his H1B visa employer to the court etc.. However, there was no paper trail with Kartik proving that he was available to work when he arrived to USA and , he was available immediately to work for his H1B visa employer. Also, after getting his first month salary, Kartik forgives his employer and anyway he came to this country to earn money and have some reputation in India for working and living in USA. So he just let it go. Majority of the Asian IT Professionals have forgiveness hard wired in them that they just keep their mouth shut. Such a forgiveness practice allows H1B employer ( specially those who only deals in a consulting business) a golden opportunity to abuse H1B employee.
  • Nishit’s green card was filed by the same company ( Dhokha Concepts) that refused to pay the salary during bench. However, Nishit’s employment based green card is sponsored by Dhokha Concepts there is no point in demanding those bench salary back and put the time consuming green card process in trouble.

Lack of knowledge and competitive advice

  • Kartik was smart enough, as soon as he got the opportunity, he found the another H1B visa sponsoring employer in USA . This new H1B visa sponsoring employer is willing to sponsor the employment based green card ( a lengthy process with the end result of getting a permission to stay in USA almost indefinity and path to the US citizenship ). Now, Kartik is very much interested in getting back those bench salary from former H1B employer. However, Kartik thinks that I am digging my own grave by requesting the money for a bench period while my former H1B employer kept me technically out of status. Kartik did not realize that by paying some $200-$500 to the attorney , he could get back thousands of dollar back in bench salary. However, in absence of competent advice, Kartik thinks that may be my green card processing with my current employer will get in to the trouble. So he just let go his bench salary.

Making you feel obligated

  • H1B employee requesting salaryAfter learning that his legal rights as H1B employee is abused by his current H1B employer. Nishit requested Dhokha Concepts to pay the bench salary. Dhokha Concepts manager retaliated back with strong words “How dare you to ask for bench salary, we brought you in this country and that’s the biggest favor you got from us and on top of it you are asking for salary during bench while you are not producing anything for us ! Don’t you have any shame ? Ask Ali. He is with us for last 5 years , he never uttered a word about a bench salary because Ali knows that we are good people“. This is a typical mental torture to make the employee feel obligated ! How many of you have come across such an obligation speech by the greedy employer ?

Concepts of benching only occurs with the those H1B employer who do not have in-house projects and relies heavily on selling IT consultant’s services to other company. It does not mean that all H1B consulting employers are worst and never pays regular salary during bench period. Also, it is equally hard to find out who does pay during bench and who don’t. We plan to build a database of good employer who indeed pay the full salary during bench and those who don’t pay any money like Dhokha Concepts. If you have been cheated or threatened by company like Dhokha Concepts, please do let us know. Send us an email at feedback@visaxp.com and tell us what happened. We will not publish your name or contact your employer. Help us stopped what happened to you by sharing your experience with us. And, do let us know the name of company who treats you really well. We definitely would like to praise those companies who take good care of employee, please do let us know.

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