The Center for Investigative Reporting has won a national award for “Techsploitation,” an investigative series that explored how unscrupulous labor brokers exploit workers on temporary visas.
The awards were presented by the South Asian Journalists Association, which is based at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in New York City.
CIR’s investigation into America’s temporary visa program for high-skilled workers won for outstanding business story. Matt Smith, Jennifer Gollan and Adithya Sambamurthy revealed how Indian technology workers on temporary visas are trapped by nightmare contracts in the U.S. that trigger hefty penalties and crippling lawsuits if they quit.
The investigation was followed by decisive action. Within three weeks, President Obama issued an executive order on immigration, including provisions making it easier for work visa holders to change jobs and for whistleblowers to seek protection. The departments of Labor, Justice and Homeland Security created a working group to shore up enforcement. In addition, Obama’s executive order allowed some visa holders to transfer their applications for permanent resident cards from one job to another, instead of requiring them to restart the process.