Infosys Visa Fraud Case Grabs Washington's Attention

Don Tennant

The visa fraud case against Infosys Technologies brought by Infosys employee and whistleblower Jay Palmer has captured Washington's attention, and has raised the question of whether the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security will cease approval of H-1B and B-1 visas for Infosys until the case is resolved.


Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) today wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, in which he cited Palmer's lawsuit against Infosys. Here's an excerpt:

I'm very concerned about fraudulent actions that at least one foreign-based company has allegedly been taking in order to get around the requirements and U.S. worker protections of the H-1B visa program, and more generally, about provisions in current guidance to visa adjudicators that actually authorize such evasion of Congressional intent.


On February 23, 2010, a U.S. employee of Infosys Technologies Limited, Inc. ("Infosys") filed a complaint in the Circuit Court of Lowndes County, Alabama, alleging that his employer was "sending lower level and unskilled foreigners to the United States to work in full-time positions at Infosys' customer sites in direct violation of immigration laws." The plaintiff described ways that Infosys, one of the top ten H-1B petitioning companies, had worked to "creatively" get around the H-1B visa program in order to bring in low-skilled and low-wage workers, resulting in visa fraud against the U.S. Government. The formal complaint against Infosys details how Infosys management in India decided to use the B-1 business visitor visa program to get around H-1B program restrictions. The plaintiff alleges that Infosys was importing foreign workers as B-1 business visitors under the guise of attending meetings rather than working for a wage as an employee of a U.S. company, which is forbidden under the statute and regulations governing the B-1 visa program.

Grassley posed a range of questions to Clinton and Napolitano, and requested that they respond no later than April 28. Those questions included:

What actions, if any, are being taken against employers who abuse the B-1 visa program? Will the Departments consider barring such employers from any visa program if found guilty of misusing the visa system? Will the Departments cease to approve visas for Infosys until the lawsuit in Alabama is settled? If not, what additional oversight and/or actions will be taken until the Infosys lawsuit is finalized?

Grassley isn't the only senator who's looking into the Infosys case. Earlier this month, representatives from the offices of Grassley and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) contacted Palmer and his attorney, Kenny Mendelsohn, to get more information about the case. I spoke with Mendelsohn last night, and he told me about the conversation:

They mainly wanted Jay's insight into the issues, and he's been preparing more information to give them, from an insider's perspective, of how companies, and in particular Infosys, are getting around both H-1 and B-1 restrictions. They discussed ways the country may be able to better enforce the laws we have, and if there are any loopholes, ways to close those loopholes through legislation. A lot of it related to the stuff that isn't loopholes, but are direct violations. So the question becomes, how can we as a country better enforce the laws that we have, and how can we legislate improvements? Jay has provided them with some information; where it goes from here, I don't know. I don't know whether they'll want him to come to Washington to testify or anything like that yet. We'll find that out later on. But he's fully cooperating, and if they need him to come up there, he'll go; if they need him to testify, he'll do that.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Apr 14, 2011 11:09 AM hoapres hoapres  says:

Nothing is going to change.

This stuff has been going on for decades and the people with the money like the fact that we can bring in low cost foreign imported IT help. 

You will have for a couple of days or a week or two some press but then it will be back to normal.

We all remember the YouTube video showing the immigration lawyers running ads to exclude Americans and nothing changed.

Apr 15, 2011 1:37 PM Vincenzo Vincenzo  says: in response to hoapres

Yeah - after the Cohen & Grigsby video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCbFEgFajGU ) became public, one would have thought that would change things.  But nothing has changed.  There's just way too much money and power in support of this injustice.  Infosys will simply be barred from the use of H-1B visas for a certain period of time and perhaps be fined.  When they'll be allowed H-1B visas again, they'll shrug off the bad publicity and continue business as usual.

Apr 15, 2011 3:20 PM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to Dolores

>> That is one thing we have going for us.

I don't think so.

What you might have going is that American IT workers are going to have wages so low that no Indian or Chinese will want to take the job.

After all, Americans are working for minimum wage or even free in IT and it is unlikely that Indians or Chinese will want to come to the US to live 12+ in a 1BR apartment.

Apr 15, 2011 3:23 PM Fintry Fintry  says:

But guys, don't forget: the REASON they haven't done anything about it for the last 12 years is because of the nasty comments you all post on Don's blog   |-D

Apr 15, 2011 4:02 PM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Vincenzo

No question that powerful forces are at work to hush this matter. But one thing is different now. When it was manufacturing jobs leaving, everybody just said 'go to college." When it was only the tech jobs getting hit, it was, 'those overpaid nerds - better change your major to business.' But now there is a national understanding - and panic - that jobs are a problem for everybody and that globalism has harmed the American middle class. Too bad it had to come to this, but way more people see the danger of the "flat" world now than before. That is one thing we have going for us.

Apr 15, 2011 6:41 PM Warior Warior  says:

Infosys Visa Fraud Case Grabs Washington's Attention. So what !!!

Apr 16, 2011 8:31 AM suraj hk suraj hk  says:

Then what about the help we indians are rendering to you.

Apr 16, 2011 8:39 AM Asin Asin  says:

It will be hard to prove the fraud because there is loophole in B1 visa. Here is details from US state department. Since person is not paid in US, it is not possible to pay taxes in US. Infosys technically didn't do anything wrong.


B1 in lieu of H

Individuals may apply for a B1 or B1/B2 visa to perform H-1B work in the United States as long as they fulfill the following criteria:

    Hold the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree

    Plan to perform H-1B-caliber work or training

    Will be paid only by their foreign employer, except reimbursement of incidental travel costs such as housing and per diem. The employee must not receive any salary from a U.S. source.

    The task can be accomplished in a short period of time.

Apr 16, 2011 9:08 AM hksuraj hksuraj  says: in response to Asin

thats the case then it is doing right thing. This is a world one should help every body in this case.  Then only we can develop economy and other countries development also.  This is better solution.

Apr 16, 2011 9:46 AM hoapres hoapres  says: in response to suraj hk

>> Then what about the help we Indians are rendering to you.

Maybe we don't want the help.

Apr 16, 2011 2:23 PM Louis Louis  says: in response to Asin

There are so many loop holes in these corrupt visa programs.  There is, literally, an unlimited number of outsourcing visas when you count the B1, L1, H1b, and whatever else is in the alphabet soup of outsourcing visas the US government hands out daily.  No wonder the US has a massive jobs crisis.

Apr 16, 2011 5:02 PM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to Asin

There are strict limits on what sort of work a B1 can do. If they are doing ordinary work, they are in violation no matter where the paycheck is issued.

The past decade has demonstrated how harmful India's "help" has been to our people.

Apr 17, 2011 8:57 AM hksuraj hksuraj  says: in response to Louis

Then why call as human beings?

Apr 17, 2011 9:07 AM hksuraj hksuraj  says: in response to hoapres

This is not the help rendering.  This is a kind of two countries which will benefit the two of our countries.  

Apr 17, 2011 9:12 AM hksuraj hksuraj  says: in response to hoapres

Dont forget the relationship between the two countries.  Think before commenting

>>Then what about the help we Indians are rendering to you.

Maybe we don't want the help

Apr 17, 2011 3:07 PM Asin Asin  says: in response to Dolores

Number of jobs lost due B1/H1 Visa is very very less compared to jobs lost due to cheap Chinese goods sold in USA. In fact, there are lots of jobs available for good computer engineers. World is becoming flat in internet age so USA need to compete with other countries - whether it is labor cost or technology.

I am not supporting any visa misuse. Guilty should be punished, however, fighting for few ordinary jobs done by B1 visa holders will not solve the current economic problem.

Apr 17, 2011 6:21 PM Dolores Dolores  says: in response to hksuraj

The results of all this "help" are clear. No thank you. Take your marbles and play elsewhere, by all means. Enough time has now lapsed that we can see clearly that we were far better off before all your "help" began.

Apr 18, 2011 8:59 AM hksuraj hksuraj  says: in response to Dolores

Ok thank you.  No need to mention these words no.  By this there in no humanity exists in the world for human beings why then the countries. 

Apr 18, 2011 9:06 AM hksuraj hksuraj  says: in response to Dolores

Thanks for your comments that you have made.  and good bye.  If people like only criticism Then How would development be made.  Before commenting think and comment

Apr 18, 2011 9:08 AM hksuraj hksuraj  says: in response to Asin

Thnx for help.  I praise your comments.  I uphold your voice aganist these illegal programs

Apr 18, 2011 9:11 AM hksuraj hksuraj  says: in response to Dolores

I apologize for hurting you all.

Apr 20, 2011 9:18 AM njoy njoy  says: in response to hksuraj

Infosys slid 10%, for whatever reason. In India, the resignation of the CFO is big news. 







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