New Delhi: After Infosys Ltd, Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. has become embroiled in a lawsuit in the US over alleged misuse of H-1B visas.
Eighteen employees of Molina Healthcare Inc., a Cognizant customer, have filed a lawsuit in a Los Angeles court alleging they were replaced by lowly paid workers from Cognizant, according to a news report by the Economic Times. The story was first reported by US-based magazine Computerworld last week.
The lawsuit, filed in April, contends that over the years Molina’s information technology (IT) department became dominated by Indians and US workers were marginalized.
In its response to the Economic Times report, a Cognizant spokesperson said, “It is Cognizant’s view that this lawsuit is without merit and we will vigorously contest it and pursue all legal remedies that may be available to us.”
US authorities have increased scrutiny of work visa applications recently and rejection rates have gone up significantly. There has also been a steep hike in the visa application fee.
This has emerged as a bone of contention between Indian and the US authorities. External affairs minister S.M. Krishna raised the issue with US secretary of state Hillary Clinton during her recent visit to New Delhi.
“I also took the opportunity to convey to Clinton the concerns of our IT companies in sending their professionals to execute projects and conduct business in the US. I highlighted that Indian IT companies are contributing to the US economy through investments, employment and supporting US competitiveness,” said Krishna.
N. Chandrasekaran, chief executive of India’s largest software services exporter, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS), said on Monday that visa rejections have gone up and “what that means is we need to do lot more planning beforehand for the project.”
Infosys, India’s second-largest software services firm, found itself the target of a grand jury investigation by the US when one of its employees, Jack Pallmer, filed a suit against the company in February alleging it was bringing workers from India to work on business visas, which prohibits gainful employment.
Economic Times: Cognizant faces H-1B visa abuse charges by US staff