An Indian company with offices in 30 countries, including the U.S., recently agreed to a record civil settlement of $34 million for allegations of immigration fraud and abuse of immigration procedures. The company, Infosys Limited, is a consulting, technology, and outsourcing firm with 17 offices in the United States.
Most of the company’s violations involved abuse of the B-1 nonimmigrant visas. The B-1 visa is only for temporary business visitors, such as those coming to the U.S. for seminars, conferences, and meetings. It is not for anyone coming to the U.S. to engage in skilled labor or traditional “work.”The H-1B, on the other hand, is a visa for skilled workers,but the number of H-1B visas available annually is limited, and the application process is relatively lengthy and complex. In order to circumvent the H-1B quota and process, Infosys used B-1 visa holders to perform the skilled labor that is only permitted under the H-1B and other visa categories. Among the many allegations, Infosys was accused of allowing B-1 visa holders to perform H-1B type work, making false statements in letters of intent used to get B-1 visas approved, directing employees to misrepresent about their work and purpose for coming to the U.S., revising client contracts to hide the fact that it was providing B-1 visa holders to perform work, and failing to maintain proper I-9 records.
The acts of Infosys are certainly much more egregious than the typical I-9 violations we see from employers; nevertheless, the exorbitant settlement serves as a strong reminder of the importance of proper employment practices and immigration compliance.