An excellent and detailed story about Tesla's use of foreign workers at its Fremont vehicle production plant was published in The Mercury News today. The article profiles Gregor Lesnik, a worker from Slovenia who signed up with local construction company ISM Vuzem but was told that were no local jobs and so he would be sent to America. ISM Vuzem apparently claims that Volkswagen, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and Saab are also clients but The Mercury News focuses on the Tesla angle as well as the broader use and abuse of B1 "Visitor for Business" visas.

Tesla said it "expects all its contractors and their subs ... to comply with all applicable pay laws."

The gist is that Lesnik – and many others like him – misused their B1 visas to work at the Tesla plant. When Lesnik got hurt, there was no one who was willing to pay for his injury claim. Tesla's response to The Mercury News' reporting was to say that it chose a construction firm to work on the plant – a company called Eisenmann – and that, "Tesla expects all its contractors and their subs ... to comply with all applicable pay laws."

This is not the first time there have been questions about hiring practices at Tesla construction sites. Earlier this year, about 100 workers walked off the construction site for the Gigafactory in Nevada over questions about out-of-state (but still US) workers.

We have asked Tesla for a comment on this matter, and will update this post if we hear back. Until then, just go read the whole thing.

UPDATE: A Tesla spokesperson told AutoblogGreen that The Mercury News ran the company's full statement, so that's apparently all we'll get from the automaker for now.

UPDATE #2: Elon Musk has addressed the article on Twitter.

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