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International Business Machines Corp. will pay $44,400 in civil penalties after reaching an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to resolve allegations that the company placed online job postings containing citizenship status preferences for F-1 and H-1B temporary visa holders. F-1 visas are issued to foreign students studying in the United States, and H-1B visas are issued to foreign nationals with technical expertise in specialized fields.
IBM’s job postings were for application and software developer positions that would ultimately require the successful candidate to relocate overseas. However, the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act does not permit employers to express or imply a preference for temporary visa holders over U.S. workers, such as U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, for any employment opportunity in the United States, according to the Department of Justice.
IBM further agreed to revise its hiring and recruiting procedures and train its human resources personnel to ensure compliance with the Immigration and Nationality Act, and to be subject to reporting requirements for a period of two years.
“Employers must give all eligible candidates the equal opportunity to compete for employment,” said Jocelyn Samuels, acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division. “The department is committed to ensuring employers do not unlawfully discriminate against U.S. citizens and other work-authorized individuals based on their citizenship status.”