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I joined my current employer a month ago.During the interview process, I clearly said I am not convinced with the pay they offered hence I am not interested to join. Then they made a false promise that after I arrive in the US and start working they will change the pay. I asked them to provide the promise in writing, but they didn't do but kept saying that pay gets revised once I land. I trusted them and travelled to the US. After reaching here, they didn't revised it. Meanwhile, I found a new employer who is ready to pay as per my expectation. Now, I am confused to join the new employer, thinking if the current employer can penalize me to pay the VISA fee while leaving the job. Because the current employer sponsored my H-1B visa by paying all the fees, spent for travel ticket and initial accommodation as well.

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Here's a write up from a law firm which also includes a link to the US Department of Labor fact sheet (direct link to the PDF) that says:

An H-1B worker, whether through payroll deduction or otherwise, can never be required to pay the following:

  1. A penalty ... for the worker’s failure to complete the full employment period ...

  2. Any part of the statutory training and processing fee imposed by the USCIS ...

  3. Any part of the statutory $500 fraud protection and detection fee imposed by USCIS ...

  4. Any deduction for the employer’s business expenses that would reduce an H-1B worker’s pay below the required wage rate ... including:

    • Any expenses, including attorney fees, directly related to the filing of the Labor Condition Application

    • Any expenses, including attorney fees and the premium processing fee ...

    • Tools and equipment ...

    • Travel expenses while on employer’s business ...

The PDF includes the legal references for all these claims.

Some of these costs cannot be deducted from your pay outright, others (including the costs of travel and living arrangement) cannot be deducted if it brings your pay below the required wage rate (which was specified in the labor certification).

If in doubt - I suggest checking with an immigration and/or labor attorney. The US government imposes steep penalties on employers violating these laws.

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  • Thanks @littleadv, this gives me some light to move forward accordingly Commented May 30, 2023 at 19:15
  • @rakeshreddy - your mention of "liquidation charges" in the title of your question leads me to ask - did you sign any kind of contract with this employer, and does that contract make any mention of "liquidated damages" (not "liquidation charges")? There are some US H-1B employers who try to give themselves a loophole to exploit where the employee agrees to pay the employer "liquidated damages" if they choose to end their employment early and, at least technically, this does not violate the rules quoted by littleadv here.
    – brhans
    Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 17:42
  • @brhans - Thanks for taking time for comments and suggestions. Per your suggestion, I have just reviewed the Offer Letter and Hire Agreement I signed. In both the documents, it was never mentioned topic of either liquidated charges or any other form of charges on termination employment by either of the parties. I believe I can rightfully resign my current employer. I will have to see their response on my resignation notice. Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 20:15

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