The case of a New Jersey-based computer specialist is, in its particulars, fairly mundane: A company contracts with an individual for a set length of time, pays to relocate and train him and then — when that employee decides to seek his fortune elsewhere — demands pre-negotiated damages.

But the suit filed last month in Georgia’s Fulton County Superior Court illustrates a dilemma faced by many U.S. companies as they compete in a global arena for skilled labor — while facing tight limits on guest-worker visas that can leave employers in the lurch when imported talent leaves for greener pastures.

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