After an investigation and subsequent court proceedings that took almost two years to complete, Infosys, an information technology and outsourcing services provider based in India, has agreed to a $34 million payoff as part of a civil settlement that resulted from a whistleblower lawsuit filed in early 2011. The suit accused Infosys of “systemic visa fraud and abuse” claiming the tech giant was falsifying official work visa documents in placing temporary workers from India in jobs with American companies. According to the court documents, Infosys was rampantly bringing Indian workers to the United States on business visitor visas – work permits that are much cheaper, faster, and easier to file with the proper federal departments than the long-term employment visas that the company should have been filing for the workers. With the help of a competent and qualified immigration law firm, the individual who filed the original whistleblower lawsuit, Mr. Jack Palmer, is expected to receive upwards of $5 million for his efforts.
According to federal investigators, there were significant and widespread omissions and mistakes in the records Infosys was keeping of its employees. These errors essentially allowed the Indian workers to continue working in the United States beyond their visa expiration dates. Mr. Palmer filed the suit in Alabama after he was “punished and sidelined” by executives at the company after witnessing the ongoing fraud. According to Mr. Palmer, although his physical and emotional health are good, the case overwhelmed his life and while he was still technically employed by Infosys and drawing a paycheck from them, he was not allowed to work.
Infosys and other outsourcing companies like it receive tens of thousands of legitimate employment visas every year, particularly those known as the H-1B visas that are named in this lawsuit. Congressional changes that have taken place over the past several years have called for large foreign companies like Infosys to pay up to $5,000 per worker visa and the actions taken by Infosys that resulted in the whistleblower action are seen are an attempt to circumvent those fees.
The company was also found to be engaged in consistently providing misinformation to immigration officials regarding the locations in which many of the Indian workers would be employed. The H-1B visa regulations mandate that the company requesting the visa be able to demonstrate that it is not making any attempt to undercut the wages paid to Americans by placing Indian workers in those positions instead. Wages in India are typically significantly lower than those paid in America and the visa regulations require that companies not try to take advantage of that fact by taking jobs away from Americans by giving them to foreign workers who are likely willing to work for a lower wage.
Infosys was found by investigators to be guilty of “widespread failure” to maintain accurate records for its employees from India. If you or someone you know has witnessed corporate fraud related to immigrant workers, visit the Austin based Lyttle Law Firm website or call their offices at 512-215-5225.