In some countries, $2/hr is a princely sum. I saw a study once which said that even though cheap immigrant workers in the United States made little by the standards there, they made so much by the standards of their native lands that they sent most of their income home to their families. Seems like they were becoming much better off, despite living in an income bracket called poverty (WhatIsPoverty?). (Don't ask me where I saw this. I wouldn't remember.) -- EvanCofsky
I knew a girl from CostaRica who came to the US for three months. During those three months, she worked half time at an insurance company doing filing, and half time as a check out person at a grocery store. In those three months she saved enough money for her parents to build a house back home. -- AnonymousDonorThis is one reason why visa workers (such as H-1B) tend to tolerate abuse. I personally know one H-1B worker who was only paid once every six months (he did get the full amount though). If he complained and the company was closed down, then he risks losing visa status and being sent home. It is not just the pay that makes companies prefer visa workers, but the fact that they tolerate more crap in order to build up home-country nest-eggs, like the one you described. They just have to tolerate abuse for 6 or so years, and then retire fat and happy back home.
See also: BrainsAsaCheapCommodity