How paychecks are purchased?

How pay checks are puchased

Paycheck purchasing is one of the common techniques orchestrated by USA based H1B employer and employee (a non-immigrant) to prove the validity of the employer – employee relationships. When a non-immigrant person working in USA on H1B visa ( a work visa) finds another employer who would be willing to process a work visa ( H1B visa) for this non-immigrant person ( also known as H1B applicant or beneficiary) , the H1B visa transfer to new employer is not a smooth ride for many H1B employees.

Here is the scenario that typical H1B visa person may encounter in USA:
Nishit is on H1B visa (work visa ) in USA , and because of any of the following circumstances; he is no longer working for his H1B visa employer ( the employer who sponsored his work visa). These circumstances are..

  • After remaining on bench (without any salary benefits) for a few months n USA, Nishit took a long vacation to his home country India, and then he decide to stay in India for couple of more months. Meanwhile, Nishit finds another employer in USA. However, Nishit needs a paycheck as one of the documentary requirement to initiate the H1B transfer from old employer to the new employer.
  • Nishit was on bench without any salary benefits in USA for last 4 to 6 months and now Nishit wants to leave his current employer and join the new employer. So in a nutshell Nishit wants to transfer his work visa to another employer (the work visa sponsor). But , Nishit needs previous paychecks for H1B transfer.
  • Nishit came to USA and after working for few months, he came to bench without any salary benefits. Nishit is pretty much determined to stay in USA until last drop of his blood. Nishit works in a gas station, motels owned by person of Indian/Asian origin and gets paid in cash for his work . Nishit continues to work for a year or more at such places. Finally, Nishit finds another employer who would be willing to provide a job in IT. To prove that Nishit is continuing his employment, for the purpose of H1B visa transfer, Nishit needs the previous paychecks.

What is paycheck or paystub ?

A payslip, pay stub, paystub, pay advice, or sometimes paycheck stub, is a document an employee receives either as a notice that the direct deposit transaction has gone through, or is attached to the paycheck. Each country has laws as to what must be included on a pay slip, but which would typically include details of the gross wages for the pay period and the taxes and any other deductions the employer is required to make by law; as well as other personal deductions such as retirement plan or pension contributions, insurances, garnishments, or charitable contributions taken out of the gross amount to arrive at the final net amount of the pay, also including the year to date totals in some circumstances. See sample paycheck below :

Sample Paycheck

Why USCIS ( U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services) wants to see the Paycheck like above ?

Based on USCIS regulations, H1B visa person has to be in valid non immigrant status at the time of filing a H1B transfer. And hence the H1B visa person’s pay records (leave and earnings statements, and pay stubs, etc.) with his or her former H1B employer for the three months prior to the filing of the present petition is required to establish that the beneficiary ( the employee) was in a valid H1-B nonimmigrant status at the time the present application of H1B transfer was filed.

There are countless website referring to the documents required for H1B transfer, but here is the screen shot from the original I-129 instruction ( I-129 is a form .. ) . For complete detail see I-129 Form

Now, you do understand that paycheck or recent leave activity detail from the most recent employer is one of the key documents used by USCIS to verify that the beneficiary ( the applicant) was in a valid H1-B nonimmigrant status at the time the present application of H1B transfer was filed. Unfortunately, such document is hard to forge and it will be extremely risky to forge the paycheck like the above

Paychecks Purchase

If H1B visa person was working and getting paid the salary, then there is no hassle in getting the proof. However in the scenario described below, the applicant would NOT have any paychecks.

Employee is interested to get the H1B transfer , no matter how much it would cost ? Employee requests the employer that he/she needs a paycheck. A desperate H1B employee contacts his current H1B visa employer for paystub. This H1B visa employer is a greedy employer , and never paid any salary during bench If employer issues the employee the paycheck than employee need to pay the tax and other things ( such as health insurance etc.) to create a valid paycheck and pay statement. Providing a false pay statement means a legal trouble of employer and employee. And work around is to cheat the system.

When H1B employee ( Nishit) came on bench, his/her H1B visa employer ( Dhokha Concepts) would have immediately cancelled the H1B visa , but employer never pursued that option in a hope that one day this employee (Nishit) would resume back the employment ( Dhokha Concepts) when the job market improves. Job market improved, but not the mindset of an employee who found the new H1B visa employer (MD5 Systems). Work around is to cheat the system.

Can’t litigate.. So better you negotiate

So best way for H1B employee like Nishit is to negotiate with the H1B visa employer. Nishit would pay the tax portion of paycheck (including the employer’s portion of tax in paycheck ) to employer under the table, which means paying the cash directly to the current H1B visa employer. The greedy employer like Dhokha Concepts may also ask Nishit to pay some fixed commission for each paycheck.

Dhokha Concepts shows on their accounting books that Nishit worked on some in house project or anyway Dhokha Concepts was obligated to pay the salary during H1B.

Few greedy employers are more creative, they would have another company setup just for this type of accounting games purpose. Each paycheck shows the YTD (Year to Date, the salary paid so far to employee from January of current year) salary, and to make those numbers look right, sometime numerous paychecks need to purchased by employee.

  • Whether USCIS would ever know? Most likely not.
  • Whether employee would admit to their friends and relatives about how he cheated the system ? Most likely not.
  • Whether all H1B non-immigrant person(s) follow these steps ? Not at all, only few of them, because not every H1B folks passes through the such experience. Paycheck purchase comes in play only when the required documentation of paycheck is missing!

The paycheck purchasing system is so fool proof that it is hard to find the loop hole, and these loop holes have been utilized by many poor H1B fellow who wanted to keep their visa status intact or just wanted to get the H1B visa transferred to the new employer with the least amount of hassles.

Here are even more shocking scenarios:

Green card through paycheck purchase

Mansoor , the IT professional from India came to USA , worked for few months for H1B employer. And now Mansoor came on bench. Mansoor’s uncle owns couple of motels and subways in USA. And they ask Mansoor to manage his business, since it would be difficult to get H1B visa to work in motels and subways, Mansoor’s uncle advises that Nishit should continue his employment with his current H1B visa employer and get the green card this way. Mansoor’s uncle pays the cash salary to Mansoor. And Mansoor continue to pay the required commission to the current H1B employer ( Dhokha Concepts). Mansoor never worked in IT, he just managed to pay the fixed commission to Dhokha Concepts so that Dhokha Concepts would show Mansoor on their payroll. Mansoor even files a tax return using W-2 issued by Dhokha Concepts !

Green card at fixed cost plus commission

Ali has a degree in IT, he never wanted to work in IT, he is a son of millionaire running a construction business in Pakistan. Ali wants to come to USA to help manage his uncle’s construction business , and Ali wants a green card as well. Ali finds an H1B visa employer like Dhokha Concepts. From day one, Ali makes a deal with Dhokha Concepts that he/she is never going to work for Dhokha Concepts, but Ali’s name must show up in Dhokha Concepts payroll. Ali pays $100K ( One Hundred Thousand Dollar !!) to Dhokha Concepts under the table, and pays the regular commission until Ali gets a green card through Dhokha Concepts where Dhokha Concepts is a green card sponsor!!

Whether all employers would do like the one above ? Not really. First of all the employer need to have a bigger manpower (many employees) to shield the employee like Ali or Mansoor.So if there are 10 official IT employees and the 1 employee like Ali , no one is going to catch. Ali is not going to utter any negative word about Dhokha Concepts, it’s a win-win situation for Ali ( Employee) & Dhokha Concepts ( H1B employer).

The immigration lawyer will not have any idea that the one (the employee) that are representing on behalf of employer could be a crook or some terrorist from overseas !!
Money flows in the vein of this food chain, where each other’s hunger is never satisfied and continues to grow.

Are you on H1B visa , and your H1B visa employer did not pay you or paid some stipend ? Do you have any horrible experience that you would like to share with us ? Please email us at your information will be kept strictly confidential and it will not be shared/sold to any one. Any general or not so confidential comments, please leave your comments below. Liked this article, please share with the rest of the world and help spread awareness.

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