In fact, just two weeks ago, Global Nation (a leading online resourse for Filipinos working abroad) published an article indicating that, according to the POEA itself, some recruitment agencies whose licenses have been suspended or cancelled by the POEA were still actively recruiting abroad. In a statement, POEA Administrator Jennifer Jardin-Manalili said that for 2008 and the first six months of 2009 alone, the POEA cancelled 76 licenses and suspended or fined 57 agencies as a result of recruitment violations.
Folks, this isn't just about exploited workers. This is about U.S. employers who rely on staffing agencies to recruit from abroad. As noble as the intervention of the teachers' unions is, and as outraged as we are at the revelations of this particular situation, there is something no one seems to remember: under federal labor and immigration laws, employers cannot hide behind independant contractor or agency relationships to indemnify themselves from violations of U.S. labor and immigration laws. Put simply, the sins of the hiring company become, at least technically, the sins of the employer. Inequitable as it would be, if the U.S. employer of these H-1Bs were a private corporation instead of the beleagured state of Louisianna, an ICE investigation -- and great big sanctions -- would be in order.
Talk to me before you hire from abroad, okay? And have a great weekend.