Caddo Parish Didn't Read The Fine Print
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The Caddo Parish school district in Louisiana didn't read the fine print when they hired H-1B teachers from the Philippines — and that big mistake that will cost them some big money.

Based on my latest research for the Recovery School District saves about $6,300 a year by hiring the Filipinos over American teachers. The cost per "unit of labor" sounded like a good deal for Caddo but what they didn't realize is that there were hidden costs, like for instance, Caddo charged each Filipino teacher $1,660 for their visa (some stories say that the bodyshop, Universal Placement International, charged the Filipinos). H-1B regulations require the employer to pay the visa fees, not the foreign worker. So, now that Caddo is in trouble with the feds, they are going to have to pay the teachers back. That still gives the Filipinos a per unit $4,640 price advantage over American teachers — which is quite a cost savings considering they hired at least 43 H-1Bs.

What the school board of Caddo Parish didn't understand is that cheap labor can get very expensive when the hidden costs are factored in to the equation.

Icess Fernandez at the Shreveport Times published a new article that sheds some light on those hidden costs. The Big Kahuna is a $400,000 reimbursement fund that the immigration attorney on Caddo's payroll advised them to set up so that Caddo can pay claims that are won by the Pinoy teachers. To see the immigration attorney's website click this link, and for more on the firm Fernandez wrote an Oct 12 article.

Make no mistake about it, that $400,000 fund is to be used to pay retribution for the money that RSD and the Caddo Parish ripped off from the Filipino teachers. Perhaps the payments will save the RSD and the bodyshop Universal Placement International (UPI) from having to endure costly lawsuits if the the Filipino teachers who have solid cases are willing to settle out of court.

Federal investigations will probably not be deterred, and any violations of immigration laws may be prosecuted. Ironically though, the potential civil penalties brought about by the Filipinos are more worrisome for Caddo and the UPI than anything the feds might do, because most of the regulations are so full of loopholes that defense lawyers will be able to get most charges reduced to mere pittances.

The $400,000 throws a new twist into the calculations used to compare the cost of American teachers versus the Pinoys. Most likely the entire sum won't have to be paid out, but using that sum and dividing it by the 43 Filipino teachers in the district would mean that each one of those H-1Bs would cost another $9,300. Subtracting that number from the price advantage per American would mean that each Pinoy teacher would cost $4,640 more than his or her American competitor.

Coming out $4,640 in the hole just for hiring Filipino teachers sounds bad for the Caddo Parish, but the situation isn't as bad as it sounds because it's just a one time expense. Forty three H-1B teachers saves the district almost $200,000 per year (benefits not included), so assuming the teachers stay there for a three year visa the district still comes out ahead. There is no reason the teachers will leave after three years, and there is also good reason to believe they won't get pay raises like most teachers do.

There is at least anecdotal evidence that, absent a collective bargaining agreement or law or policy, some school districts pay their nonimmigrant employees as new teachers, regardless of their experience and qualifications. — Randy Barber, NEA, 2003
Caddo Parish and the Recovery School District still come out ahead although they will get some bad publicity from the entire episode. That's assuming the feds don't come down to heavy on them — sometimes employers are barred from hiring H-1Bs for a year or two, which is the ultimate punishment for employers who get too greedy.

Unmentioned in any of the articles are the other set of victims — the American teachers who were not hired because they were considered too expensive and/or too old. Jobless RSD teachers won't get their jobs back and unless they file a risky class action lawsuit to complain about their replacement by H-1Bs they won't get monetary compensation. It's an all around screw job for Americans.

The Caddo story could become just another example why it's not going to help American workers if H-1B laws are enforced better — the rules of the game are still not fair.

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