Feeds

Infosys set for $35m fine over US visa naughtiness

Report says company undercut rivals by using cheap B-1 visas instead of pricier H1-B

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Indian IT services giant Infosys is bracing itself for a $35 million (£22m) fine from the US government for visa irregularities, in what will be the largest financial penalty ever handed out for an immigration infraction.

The fine, expected to be announced later today, comes after a Department of Homeland Security and State Department investigation into Infosys, according to Wall Street Journal.

The Indian IT giant is apparently being accused of routinely using B-1 visas for offshore workers to come to the US to service clients, rather than the harder-to-obtain H-1B visa.

B-1 visas, which cost $160 (£100) a pop, are technically intended for those attending conferences or other short business-related trips, while H-1Bs are valid for three years but can take months to process and cost up to $5,000 (£3,116) each.

As a result of its visa policy, it is alleged that Infosys managed to undercut its rivals in bidding for work on US soil.

The dispute can be seen in context of an on-going debate in which US interests complain that companies like Infosys are cheating the visa system by bringing cheap labour in from abroad on B-1 visas for long-term stays, rather than employing more expensive local workers.

Back in August, a lawsuit filed in the US District Court in Eastern Wisconsin by VMware specialist Brenda Koehler, alleged just this. It claimed that 90 per cent of Infosys US hires are not local and that the firm abused the B-1 visa system.

Allegations of discrimination against US staff were also made by ex-employee Jay Palmer, who brought a failed legal action against the firm. He claimed Infosys told staff to falsify letters of invitation to events to ease the B-1 application process.

On the other side, however, India’s outsourcers have complained that it is US immigration policy which is discriminatory.

There are currently only around 65,000 H-1B visas available each year which is often not enough and plans afoot could restrict that number even more.

NASSCOM president Som Mittal argued back in June that Indians working for the country’s outsourcing giants in the US have contributed over $15bn in taxes and social security payments over the past five years.

He said at the time that the proposed Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act places “restrictions on our ability to service our customers and prevents our ability to have a level-playing competition in the US”. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.