Friday, December 21, 2018

Trafficking in Persons - Recruitment Fees

Yesterday we discussed the FAR prohibitions against "trafficking in persons" and the underlying statutory basis for those regulations (see Trafficking in Persons). One of the prohibitions, as you recall, was one prohibiting contractors and subcontractors from charging employees recruitment fees. One of the problems with this prohibition has been that no one could agree on what constituted "recruitment fees". In fact, in 2015, GAO (Government Accountability Office) came out with a report recommending that agencies develop a more precise definition of recruitment fees. According to GAO, without a clear definition, agencies would face challenges enforcing the prohibition. So, through the regulatory process, the Government has done just that; defined in FAR 22.1702 the term recruitment fees. Here it is:

Recruitment fees means fees of any type, including charges, costs, assessments, or other financial obligations, that are associated with the recruitment process, regardless of the time, manner, or location of imposition or collection of the fee.

Recruitment fees include, but are not limited to, the following fees when they are associated with the recruiting process for:

  • Soliciting, identifying, considering, interviewing, referring, retaining, transferring, selecting, training, providing orientation to, shills testing, recommending, or placing employees or potential employees
  • Advertising
  • Obtaining permanent or temporary labor certification, including any associated fees
  • Processing applications and petitions
  • Acquiring visa, including any associated fees;
  • Acquiring photographs and identity or immigration documents, such as passports, including any associated fees
  • Accessing the job opportunity, including required medical examinations and immunizations; background reference, and security clearance checks and examinations; and additional certifications;
  • An employer's recruiters, agents or attorneys, or other notary or legal fees;
  • Language interpretation or translation, arranging for or accompanying on travel, or providing other advice to employees or potential employees;
  • Government-mandated fees, such as b order crossing fees, levies, or worker welfare funds;
  • Transportation and subsistence costs for everything until disembarking at work site.
  • Equipment charges
  • Security deposits, bonds, and insurance 

This seems like a very comprehensive listing. Although some contractors and subcontractors might look for wiggle room to find ways to make employees pay some sort of fee for securing the job, the intent here is to not saddle employees with these otherwise allowable fees. Such fees, recruitment fees as they are called, must be charged direct to a contract or allocated though an indirect rate.

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