Infosys to pay $35 million to settle US visa ‘fraud’ case
Indian IT giant, Infosys, has agreed to pay $35 million in a civil settlement after the US government found it had committed “systemic visa fraud and abuse” as the company was illegally placing its workers on visitor visa instead of work visa to serve some of its large corporate clients in the US.
Infosys, which has always been known for its highly ethical business practices, was caught in this storm due to a complaint made by a disgruntled foreign employee. “In response to reports attributed to Justice Department officials, Infosys is in the process of completing a civil resolution with the government regarding its investigation of visa issues and I-9 documentation errors,” the company said.
A WSJ report said on Tuesday that an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department found that the Indian company used inexpensive, easy-to-obtain B-1 visas meant to cover short business visits—instead of harder-to-get H-1B work visas—to bring an unknown number of its employees for long-term stays, these people say.
The move comes after the US government’s recent announcement where it said it would be tightening visa regulations to prevent foreign companies from misusing them. “This complaint and large settlement should be a wake-up call to all employers that the government is serious about enforcing the H-1B visa regulations,” Stephen Yale-Loehr, a Cornell University immigration-law professor was quoted as saying.
Although Infosys has declined to comment on the details of the investigation, a company spokesperson has responded saying it is in talks for a “civil resolution of the government’s investigation into the company’s compliance” with employment-record “I-9 form” requirements and past use of the B-1 visa.
The US government has strengthened measures against fraudulent practices, training and other fees that have raised the price of securing an H-1B visa. The alleged practice enabled Infosys to offer competitive rates to its large clients like Goldman Sachs Group, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Cisco Systems.
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