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A few years ago, Vishal Goel had high hopes of moving from his native India to the U.S. to work as a computer programmer. He approached Patni Computer Systems, a Mumbai company that provides tech services to many American businesses, and Patni agreed to apply for a U.S. work visa on his behalf. By 2004, Goel was in Bloomington, Ill., working for Patni at State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance, the largest car insurer in the country.
But this was no dream job come true. Goel's base salary was $23,310, about half the $44,000 that Patni had said it would pay on the visa application, according to a lawsuit he has filed against the company. When Goel complained, one official said that Patni would brand him a "troublemaker" and that his parents in India would be harassed unless he stopped, the suit alleges. Goel, who left Patni in 2005, filed suit in November 2007, in federal court in Illinois. He's suing along with a former colleague, Peeush Goyal, who alleges he was subjected to similar treatment. Patni declined to comment, though in court documents it denies the charges.
Goel's is not an isolated case. A number of the most active users of the work-visa program, for what are known as H-1B visas, have been accused of underpaying or otherwise mistreating workers.
Source: Business Week, www.businessweek.com
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