The Maryland public school just got hit with a $4.2 million tab to pay for the H1-B visas of more than 1,000 teachers on staff. Why are we retaining foreign teachers when we have 6.8 percent unemployment in Maryland and 9.2 percent in the United States?
I certainly do understand the value of having teachers with language, cultural and history skills from outside the United States, but this just does not add up for me. From Fox News.
The Prince George’s County school system last week reached an agreement with the Labor Department to pay $4.2 million to more than 1,000 foreign teachers, to compensate them for work visa fees which — under federal law — the school system was supposed to pay. The school system will also pay a $100,000 penalty, presuming the deal is approved by an administrative judge.
That’s $4,200 per teacher. I thought visa fees – maybe better referred to “working papers” – for expats were set to cover the governments cost for administrative fees and make it more cost effective for U.S. businesses, and in this case the government, to hire Americans.
That does not seem to be the case.
According to the Labor Department, employers like the Prince George’s school system must pay work visa fees in order to ensure foreign teachers are paid at least the same “wage rates” as other U.S. workers. By not paying those fees, the department claims, the system “illegally reduced the wages” of the foreign workers. The apparent goal is to make sure the wages of U.S. workers aren’t depressed as a result.
Huh? Can someone explain this to me?
Visa fees – paid directly to the federal government – are implemented to ensure expats are paid at least the same as other U.S. workers? The article states the school district – in this case – is paying the foreign teachers less money than their U.S. peers, the school system is required to pay the visa fees to the federal government, and the federal government provides some cash to the foreign workers to make up for their lower pay.
Confirm for me … that’s what the paragraph says right?
As a result of the settlement, Prince George’s will be barred from recruiting foreign teachers and extending their visas for two years. In the near-term, that means 161 foreign teachers will be forced out of the school system in the next two months due to expired visas, with another 100 following close behind by the beginning of 2012. …
“Obviously, this is not the outcome we had hoped for as these employees have provided an exceptional service to our school district,” the county school system said in a statement. “However, in the final analysis of the current state of our shrinking school budget and mounting legal fees, we determined that we simply could not afford to continue to operate this program.”
Fortunately for Prince George’s, the pool of available recruits in the U.S. is no longer as shallow as it was when the unemployment rate was lower and the county started looking overseas.
“Now you can actually fill those vacancies with American teachers,” the county schools official said. “That’s the only good thing that will come out of this.”
No kidding? Does that mean even though there are qualified candidates for positions who are already U.S. residents or citizens, the school system would extend the contracts of the expats?
How the heck does that add up?
- Are the expat teachers on a lower pay scale as compared to U.S. teachers with the same skill set and experience?
- If the teachers are paid less, is the federal government paying the teachers directly to make up for the lower pay using visa fees?