Advice for complaint against H1B employer?

Hi All,Situation:I am with Company A and in the middle of changing jobs. I got an offer with Company B (body shop company offering a job at prestigious end client. I interviewed with end client and this opportunity was genuine) and started my paperwork with Company B after they got approval from end client. I signed an employment agreement (and they returned a signed copy to me as well) with Company B and gave them all relevant docs (copies of passport, visa, etc.) for H1B transfer.Also, Company B asked me for 50% ($2000) of H1B fees (petition + attorney) for which I made a cashier’s cheque and sent to them. I did not know that this was against the law as that fees should be paid 100% by the employer, and I was in a hurry to change from Company A and knew that a lot of people do this, so went ahead with Company B nevertheless.After Company B had filed my LCA but before filing my H1B paperwork under regular processing, I got an offer from Company C (legitimate american services company offering FTE position and not a body shop company) and decided to go ahead with them as I wanted stability, although I was offered more money at Company B (in the vendor role). Post that, I told Company B that I will not be joining them and at first they tried to tell me that I cannot leave them as I had already started proceedings with them. After some research on the internet, I told them that I will not join them and want my money back as asking for H1B money from the prospective employee is illegal. They softened up a bit and told me that it’s your choice to not join, and that they had already spent money on the attorney and will not return my $2000. I left them a few emails requesting for returning the money but they have told me that they will not return that money (over phone and I have recorded that using a call recording app. Not over email.)Questions:1. When is the H1B petition fees (~$4000) paid to USCIS? Is it at the time of sending LCA form or when filing the H1B petition?I would assume that it’s when filing the H1B petition and not when filing the LCA form (prior to filing H1B petition)? However, I am not experienced in these things and not sure if the processes are mutually exclusive.2. Can it be a problem for me if I file a complaint against Company B to the relevant authorities like DOL etc. (Like I can be held accountable as an abettor/accessory to this activity)?I looked up on the internet about the same but could only find queries about how to complaint etc. and none exploring this angle.

  1. H1B petition fees have to be paid while filing the petitions with USCIS, not when LCA is processed.

    1. I do not think it will be problem for you. However, the employer B can claim that you paid $2000 for attorney’s fee and may not get your amount back.

    I would recommend you to contact a good immigration attorney to identify the options that you have in this case.

Hi Sujith,

Thanks for the prompt reply!

For points:
#1: Sounds good, which means that he has not paid the money to USCIS already.
#2: I read up on the DOL website ( the attorney’s fees should be paid 100% by the employer

Excerpt from the DOL website:
Illegal Deductions: Your employer may not require you to pay, either directly or indirectly, any part of the petition filing fee; or to pay a financial penalty for leaving employment before a date set in the employment contract; or to pay employer business expenses (such as attorneys fees for preparation and filing of the H-1B Labor Condition Application).

And I believe that without the lawyer’s fees, just the petition fees is ~$3500 (which he never paid to USCIS) - which means that he is just trying to fleece me.

You are correct - attorney fees cannot be passed on to the beneficiary unless the beneficiary received some services from the attorney.
In that case, I think, you are eligible to get the full refund.

Sounds good. Thanks so much for your help! :slight_smile:


This was resolved >2 years ago, but I figured that it’s better to post a resolution to possibly help someone than post nothing at all.

Here’s the turn of events in late July 2012.
I reached out to Company B (at the official company email ID of the contact that I was working with) that I have proof that you took $2000 for H1B transfer from me and that that is illegal, so return my money before I report you to the authorities and post your name all over the internet with bad reviews.
I told them that although it is unfortunate that I will be unable to join, it is illegal for them to have taken money from me in the first place and I have proof of their request and the executed transaction – email communications from them asking me to send the $2000 cashier’s check to so and so address and my written confirmation that I had sent it and that I had pics of the cashier’s check plus voice recordings of phone conversations with them.

P.S.: Voice recordings may be in the grey area of legality. Even I had complained against them, I may or may not have used that as evidence, but while attacking them (asking them to return my money), I decided to go all guns blazing. This tactic worked for me, may or may not work for anybody else.

In the end, they sent to me a check in a few weeks refunding the full amount. Phew!

Please feel free to message me for questions. I’ll be happy to help.