The Tesla Motors contract company known as Eisenmann recruited a small company in Slovenia to employ foreign workers via the B-1 US visa program by misrepresenting those workers in order to get hold of the visas to allow for the importing of cheaper overseas labor rather than hiring American workers, according to a new investigative report.
The B-1 US visa enables overseas workers to come to the United States for limited and temporary work purposes, like training or supervising American workers in some kind of specialized skill, or to attend a conference. The US visa does not, however, allow the worker to work hands-on at jobs that can be performed by American workers and workers cannot receive payment from an American company under this particular visa. The B-1 US visa can last as long as six months, with no fixed cap on the number of visas permitted per annum. In 2014, as many as 6.2 million B-1 and B-2 US visas were issued.
The misrepresentation of information of applications for B-1 US visas has become an ongoing problem. In 2014, IT firm Infosys was fined as much as $34 million for a number of offenses, including the circumventing of regulations surrounding B-1 US visas.
B-1 US visas have been misused by overseas contractors to import immigrant workers who will work for low wages and long hours in violation of labor and US visa laws. The US Department of Labor’s assistant district director in the San Jose office, Michael Eastwood, says he believes there is widespread abuse of the visas in the area.