Infosys Immigration Fine
As we reported in an earlier blog, every year, companies rush to apply for H-1B employment visas because of the 65,000 yearly cap on visas the United States will award. Last October, the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department accused Infosys, an Indian company of bringing employees to the United States through B-1 visas instead of H-1B visas. B-1 visas are much easier to obtain, and are significantly cheaper, but are only meant for short business-related visits. They allow foreigners to enter the United States for short-term business conventions or consultations, for example, and can be obtained within a few days for under $200. H-1B visas, on the other hand, take several months to process, and cost roughly $2,000. Although the company denied the charges that it was fraudulently and intentionally using B-1 visas to cut costs, it settled the claim made by federal prosecutors for $34 million.
This settlement, which was one of the largest in U.S. history, has come along at a time when immigration policy is in flux, and U.S. employment numbers are low. Regardless of if Infosys hired employees through B-1 visas intentionally or did so accidentally, the action allowed Infosys to outbid other companies for programming projects. It also took employment opportunities away from others that should have had them.
With immigration reform on the horizon, it is reported that companies like Infosys have begun moving work overseas to avoid the potential increased visa costs and increased minimum salaries for H1-B visa holders. These companies argue that IT service companies will be harmed across the board if visa costs increase or there are directives for added U.S. citizen hiring.
For their part, U.S. policy makers have been trying to balance technology company requests for an increase of H-1B visas with new enforcement protections. While Silicon Valley has stated that there is a shortage of Americans with sophisticated technological skills, those in the House of Representatives are trying to protect American jobs.
With over 35 years of experience on immigration matters, if you have any questions regarding your employment status or visa in the United States, contact an Illinois immigration attorney today. We are here to help and confident in our ability to effectively represent you.
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