The United States on Thursday fined an information technology staffing company for underpaying and sometimes not paying 12 H-1B visa-holding employees.

The US Department of Labor asked the Washington-based firm to pay the employees $309,914 (approximately Rs 2.22 crore) after an official investigation showed that the company had violated the law. People Tech Group Inc will pay an additional $45,564 (approximately Rs 32 lakh) in civil penalties.

The investigation found that the company was paying entry-level wages to H-1B computer analysts and computer programmers “who performed the work of much more experienced employees”. The firm was also found to have violated the visa programme law by not paying workers for time when it failed to provide them work.

“The intent of the H-1B foreign labour certification program is to help American companies find the highly skilled talent they need when they can prove that a shortage of US workers exists,” said Wage and Hour Division Acting District Director Carrie Aguilar in Seattle. “The resolution of this case demonstrates our commitment to safeguard American jobs, level the playing field for law-abiding employers, and ensure no one is being paid less than they are legally owed.”

The Wage and Hour Division has categorised almost 30 firms as wilful violator employers under the H-1B visa programme, PTI reported.

The company that was penalised has offices in Bengaluru and Hyderabad too.