Infosys Recasts Immigration Team as Showdown with Feds Looms

Don Tennant

As federal government authorities conducting the visa and tax fraud investigation of Infosys move inexorably closer to a showdown, the Indian IT services provider appears to be quietly cleaning its U.S. immigration house to present as unsoiled a picture to the feds as it possibly can.


A LinkedIn search has revealed that Infosys has revamped its Plano, Texas-based human resources operation, bringing in at least four new senior immigration managers since July. All four of those new managers had previously worked for law firms that specialize in assisting foreign workers to obtain visas.


Here's a snapshot of the new immigration managers, based on their LinkedIn profiles:


  • Liz Jordan-Senior Associate Lead, Immigration. Jordan joined Infosys in August after 10 years as an immigration paralegal at Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy. You may recall that Fragomen is the law firm that the Department of Labor audited in 2008, due to concerns that the firm may have advised its U.S. client companies to contact a Fragomen attorney before hiring "apparently qualified" U.S. workers. The Labor Department backed off after determining that its previous rulings on the "minimally qualified" U.S. worker issue were confusing.
  • Nirala Maharaj-Associate Lead, Global Immigration (U.S.). Before joining Infosys sometime during or after August, Maharaj spent five years as a paralegal at Weiss, Alden and Polo, P.A., assisting attorneys with the preparation and filing of immigrant and non-immigrant visa applications.
  • Erin Green-Global Immigration Compliance Lead (U.S). Green joined Infosys in October, and is responsible for "managing U.S. immigration compliance." Green had previously spent three years as head of the U.S. immigration department at Kantor & Acco Global Immigration Law Firm.
  • Laurie Hawkins-Practice Lead, Immigration. Hawkins joined Infosys in July after a 10-month stint as director of HR and immigration services at the Dallas office of Velie Law Firm PLLC. She had previously served as an immigration paralegal at the Dallas law firm Jenkens & Gilchrist, Nokia, and Verizon Communications, and as a senior immigration advisor at NuCompass Mobility Services.


The fact that all four of these Plano-based senior immigration managers have joined Infosys since July is especially interesting in light of some of the comments that then-CEO Kris Gopalakrishnan made during the company's earnings call on July 12. As I reported in my July 19 post, "Deception-Detection Expert: Infosys Execs Fretting over Visa Woes," Gopalakrishnan had played down questions about problems stemming from the U.S. government's crackdown on the H-1B visa approval process, and insisted that the outlook for obtaining the H-1B visas Infosys needed was rosy.


Phil Houston, an internationally recognized expert in the field of deception detection and CEO of QVerity, a company in which I'm a partner, analyzed the transcript of that earnings call and drew this conclusion:

Based on the behavioral analysis of responses by Infosys management to questions related to the ongoing visa issue, it appears that the company has been affected by changes in the visa process, and that those changes are the source of significant concern for Infosys management.

It's worth reading Houston's full analysis in that post, because it outlines in detail the deceptive behavior exhibited by Gopalakrishnan, and how that behavior suggests that Gopalakrishnan was particularly troubled by the visa situation. If that were the case, it seems unsurprising that an essential element of his concern would be the prospective ramifications of the feds' criminal investigation of Infosys' visa practices.


It's probably safe to assume, moreover, that the shake-up of Infosys' Plano-based immigration operation is more extensive than what I was able to uncover on the basis of a LinkedIn search. What's unclear at this point is the extent to which this new cast of characters replaces, rather than augments, the immigration team members whose hands may have gotten sullied by the alleged visa and tax fraud. In any case, we may be seeing a pattern here.


It was also in July that Infosys had come up with a new internal document, "Business Visitor Travels to the U.S.: An Employee Guide to Company Policy and Procedures" (see my posts, "Infosys Tries to Show It's Cleaning up B1 Visa Act" and "Infosys CEO Fields Tough Questions About Visa Fraud Case"). Although internal correspondence had made it clear that these were new guidelines, Gopalakrishnan struggled to portray them as a routine revision of something that already existed.


All of this begs an enormously crucial question that Infosys needs to figure out how to answer: If there is no merit to the visa and tax fraud allegations that were brought to light by Infosys employee and whistleblower Jay Palmer, and subsequently brought under criminal investigation by authorities from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of State and Department of Justice, why, exactly, is Infosys working so feverishly to change the way it was conducting its visa operations?

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