Wilner & O'Reilly, APLC
One Practice. One Focus. One Passion: Immigration Law.

Diplomat's case one possible example of immigrant wage dispute

Though most of the attention in the arrest of Devyani Khobragade, the India diplomat that was charged with falsifying information concerning wages paid to her hired nanny, there still remains the other issue concerning the problems that such workers face when coming to the United States.  

There have been protests concerning the manner in which the arrest of Khobragade was conducted.  However, certain commentators feel that the crime that was allegedly committed is of an extremely serious nature.  Khobragade is accused of paying the nanny wages far below what state and federal law requires.  There are allegations that the visa application contained false statements concerning the nanny's salary, and that an employment contract used in support of the nanny's visa application may have been fabricated.

Khobragade purportedly had told the nanny in India that she would pay her $3.31 per hour - with minimum wage being at $7.25 per hour. The nanny's total monthly salary would be $573. Included in these wages would be $82 per month for an unidentified amount of "work on Sunday, after hours, and for parties."

We are not in a position to know from our offices in California whether the allegations of this matter are indeed factual.  Determining whether compliance with immigration laws is taking place can be dependent upon individual circumstances. Still, red flags are raised since Khobragade is the third Indian diplomat in New York to have been accused of exploiting a domestic servant.

Immigrant workers may be in certain circumstances vulnerable to such treatment because such individuals may not always have the means for standing up for their legal rights. Attorneys can assist such individuals by advising them concerning their legal rights, and by providing representation at the necessary hearings.

Source: Daily News, "India, take a look in the mirror," Juliet S. Sorenson, Dec. 26, 2013

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