Alleged visa violations settled for $34M!

Infosys is one of India’s biggest IT consulting companies. It recently settled with the Dept. of Homeland Security for alleged misuse of B-1 visas in lieu of H-1B and for I-9 violations.

The B-1 is a business visitor visa not to be used for work. The government alleged Infsys used B-1 in lieu of the work-authorized H-1B. While the fine is the hugest ever no criminal or debarment penalties resulted likely due to the requirement for intent to prove fraud and the B-1 law’s long existent ambiguity. However, we can now expect the law in this area to be tightened (cf. S.744).

A point to note is how the enforcement proceeding initiated: a disgruntled employee blew the whistle, often the trigger for DHS investigations and even though in this case the whistleblower’s private case was dismissed.

A take away for the U.S. employer contracting with an IT provider is also that it would be wise to assure that the IT company has I-9s for the employees it assigns to the client’s premises as precaution against being ensnared in the contractor’s immigration compliance issues. Wal-Mart was ensnared some years ago in connection with an independent contractor’s employees.

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