The former Infosys manager from India who detailed systematic discrimination against American college recruits has provided a compelling behind-the-scenes account of the institutionalized nature of the B-1 visa fraud and deceptive practices documented by Infosys employee and whistleblower Jay Palmer.
The former manager, who is speaking to me on condition of anonymity, was employed by Infosys from 2000 to 2010, and worked in the United States on an H-1B visa for six years (see yesterday's post, "Former Infosys Manager from India Cites Discrimination Against Americans"). He corroborated information that Palmer and his attorney, Kenny Mendelsohn, have turned over to federal authorities conducting the criminal investigation of Infosys, including information about the manner in which Infosys briefs B-1 visa holders on how to deceive U.S. immigration officials:
Back in Bangalore they have an elaborate immigration department-obviously they have a lot of people traveling, the majority of whom travel to the United States. I would say the number of B-1 visas that they use is probably a substantial number, but not a large percentage compared to H-1s and L-1s. What they do for people who are traveling on B-1 visas, in Bangalore and other Infosys offices in India, they would have a briefing session where they would basically tell you very clearly that a B-1 visa is only intended for sales professionals to attend meetings and things like that, and you can't actually be working. So what you need to do when you reach the United States is you need to lie to the official at the airport about the purpose of your visit. You can't tell them that you're there to work or to do any kind of programming or anything like that. They even advise you not to take any kind of programming books in your bags, just in case you're searched. You can't tell them you're there for a sales meeting when your bag is packed with six books on Java.
The former manager said there are plenty of Infosys employees in India who are willing to come to the United States on a B-1 visa to work, even though they're fully aware it's illegal to do so. The lure, he said, is simple. It's all about the money:
Most people back in India would do absolutely anything to come to the United States, just for the money. People at that level have two options. Option A is you are given $145 a day. For the first $100 you would have to produce receipts, but you wouldn't have to produce receipts for the remaining $45. Option B is $90 a day, no questions asked, no receipts required. And during that time, they continue to draw whatever salary they were getting in India. If a junior analyst or programmer gets the opportunity to be in the United States for three months, and takes Option B, that's $90 a day for 90 days, or $8,100. That's an interesting amount of money for these guys. Infosys doesn't have to force people in India to come to the United States. They have more people than they need who would come to the United States, who would do that-that's a good amount of money.
The former manager said he has read a lot about the spartan living conditions of Infosys B-1 workers here, and he characterized that as a choice that they willingly make:
Some people are just OK with that. They want to do it because they want to save money. It's the state of the Indian economy, it's the willingness of people to come over, not having any regard for U.S. law. It's a huge combination of all of these factors working together.
The former manager started working for Infosys in Bangalore right out of college, and said he learned early on that all was considered fair when it came to the United States:
To be honest with you, looking at the companies based out of India, Infosys is probably one of the best places to start working. They do a lot of good things. But when it comes to the United States, they behave a little differently. The general attitude I have seen there is they don't really care if they do something wrong that hurts the U.S. economy or people in the United States. For them, as long as they're doing something that brings in money to India, and helps people in India to earn money, somehow they think everything's fair as long as that's done.