Infosys agrees to pay $1 million in civil settlement to New York state
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Bengaluru: Infosys Ltd has agreed to pay $1 million in a civil settlement of a visa rules violation case to New York state, according to a press release on the New York state attorney general’s website.
New York state’s attorney general had found India’s second-largest information technology outsourcing firm to be “systematically abusing the United States visa rules in placing foreign workers at client sites”.
Infosys, according to the release, “knowingly and unlawfully obtained temporary visitor visas (B-1 visas)” instead of the more difficult H-1B visas required by foreign workers to work in US.
“To perform the services offered by Infosys in New York state, its foreign workers needed H-1B visas. But in order to avoid the difficulty and expense of obtaining such visas, the office contends that Infosys knowingly and unlawfully obtained temporary visitor visas (B-1 visas) instead. B-1 visas are much easier to obtain. Because they apply only to visits, B-1 visa holders are not permitted to perform work of the kind Infosys workers were sent to New York to do, and they are not subject to the H-1B prevailing wage requirements,” the release stated.
“Infosys provided instructions to employees on B-1 visas regarding how to deceive US consular officials and/or Customs and Border Protection Officers. This conduct included creation of a “Dos and Dont’s” memorandum that was provided to Infosys employees entering the United States that explicitly instructed such employees to avoid talking about the work they were doing,” the release added.
“We will not permit companies to violate our laws in order to undercut New York workers. My office is committed to ensuring that our state’s labour marketplace is fair, competitive and transparent for all,” said state attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman in the release.
“Infosys’ agreement concludes the state of New York’s investigation relating to the amount of taxes the company paid in 2010-2011 without any criminal or civil charges being filed,” said a spokesperson for Infosys.
“While this investigation centred on alleged paperwork errors, the company committed no wrongdoing and denies all allegations made in this regard. This settlement relates to legal issues already resolved under the 2013 settlement with the US Department of Justice, and was reached by both parties to avoid protracted litigation,” the spokesperson said.
“Infosys maintains robust policies and procedures to ensure adherence with all applicable regulations and laws. Infosys will continue to focus on boosting American innovation, hiring American workers and better serving our valued customers across the United States,” the spokesperson added.
In 2013, Infosys agreed to pay $34 million, in what was then the largest settlement made by an Indian IT firm to settle a visa abuse case. Infosys had denied any wrongdoing but agreed to pay the money to close the case.