If your company hires foreign workers, READ THIS …

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, July 18, 2013

Manufacturers who recruit and hire foreign workers could be treated as third-party contractors and saddled with new requirements and liabilities according to a bill being considered by the Legislature during these final weeks of Session.

SB 516 by Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) builds on existing law to create a more robust regulatory framework governing the operations of “foreign labor contractors” (FLC) to better combat the growing human trafficking problem in California. While the goal of preventing and punishing human traffickers is supportable, the breadth of this bill ultimately harms legitimate employers by imposing significant burdens on them and exposes them to more risks when hiring workers from foreign countries. For these reason, CMTA and other business organizations oppose the measure and are working to draft a solution that doesn’t disadvantage California manufacturers in finding and retaining the best possible employees.

According to SB 516, any person or company that assists in securing or actually secures or provides employment services to foreign workers for compensation is a FLC and as such, any employer who directly oversees the hiring and/or processing of foreign workers could be deemed a FLC and subject to the requirements of the bill, which include registering with the Labor Commissioner, posting a surety bond and disclosing specified information to the foreign worker. Any violation of these provisions subjects the FLC to penalties and legal action.

Further, if an employer uses a third-party for these services, SB 516 requires them to use a registered FLC and to disclose that use or planned use to the Labor Commissioner. Failure to do so subjects the employer to penalties and legal action. In addition, the bill holds the employer and FLC jointly and severally liable and allows anyone who alleges a violation to file a lawsuit – no actual harm need be shown to bring the private right of action.

Anyone who directly hires workers under a Visa, assists them with processing their applications and/or relocation plans, or contracts with a third-party vendor for these services should have their Human Resources experts examine this bill closely. 

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