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Wright State University To Pay $1M To Resolve Federal H-1B Visa Probe

Wright State University Friday announced an agreement officials say resolves a federal investigation into alleged violations of the federal H-1B work visa program.

Under the terms of the agreement, Wright State will pay the federal government a total of $1 million in three installments over the next two years.

In a statement, Wright State officials say the total payment will not, “have any impact on Wright State’s FY19 budget or reduce the $10.1 million FY18 surplus.”

Wright State has struggled with budget problems in recent years, making millions of dollars in budget cuts. Contract talks between Wright State and its faculty union are ongoing amid threats by the union to strike if an agreement is not reached.

The H-1B visa program is designed to help employers hire foreign workers with highly specialized skills, such as those needed in science, engineering and other STEM-related fields.

Read the full Wright State press release below:

Wright State University announced Nov. 16 that it has reached an agreement with the federal government to resolve questions and problems that arose when former university employees mishandled H-1B visa applications.

The Wright State University Board of Trustees voted to approve a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. As part of the agreement, Wright State agreed to pay a total of $1 million in three payments that will be made over the next two years. Upon compliance with the terms of the agreement, the university’s involvement in the matter will be officially concluded.

“This agreement is an important step for the university to put this matter behind us and allow us to move forward with the improved oversight system we put into place when this problem came to our attention more than three years ago,” said Doug Fecher, chair of the Board of Trustees. “We’ve done a comprehensive policy and procedures audit, we’ve expanded and improved our internal legal department, and we’ve made many organizational changes and numerous reforms to prevent this from happening again.”

Three Wright State employees who were involved in the H-1B visa applications at issue are no longer employed by the university. In 2015, the university removed the provost, senior advisor to the provost and head of the university’s International Gateway program.

“These employees fell well short of our high standards, which is why we held them accountable,” said Fecher. “We have made sweeping changes in how we handle H-1B visas and strengthened this university by implementing compliance reforms and transparency since the United States Attorney’s Office notified us of these issues.”

The $1 million payment will not have any impact on Wright State’s FY19 budget or reduce the $10.1 million FY18 surplus.

View the non-prosecution agreement (PDF).

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