New Delhi: Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) and Infosys Ltd have denied reports that the US department of labour has initiated an investigation into possible violations by them of rules pertaining to visas for foreign technology workers.

On Friday, both Mumbai-based TCS and Bengaluru-based Infosys said they had not received any notice from the labour department of a probe being conducted.

A New York Times report dated 11 June said the department had opened investigations against TCS and Infosys for “possible violations of rules for visas for foreign technology workers under contracts they held with an electric utility, Southern California Edison".

“We have received no indication of any broader investigation of Infosys’s visa practices," said a spokeswoman for Infosys. “Infosys is committed to complying with US immigration laws. The US department of labour regularly selects a percentage of visa and labour condition applications for extra scrutiny in this industry, and we work closely with the department to assist them in this activity in the ordinary course of our business."

“TCS maintains rigorous internal controls to ensure we are fully compliant with all regulatory requirements related to US immigration laws, including those related to H-1B visas," said a spokeswoman for TCS.

Often used by information technology (IT) firms, an H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in speciality occupations.

An email sent to the US labour department remained unanswered, as did emails and calls to Scott S. Dahl, inspector general at the department.

Both TCS and Infosys do back-end IT work for Southern California Edison, which earlier this year is believed to have laid off more than 500 technology workers, many of them US nationals, and replaced them with Indian software engineers brought in by the two firms. The New York Times article said many of the US nationals were made to train their replacements—immigrants on temporary work visas.

Infosys faced visa-related issues in the past when a former employee, Jack Palmer, filed a whistleblower lawsuit in 2011 alleging that he had been punished and sidelined by company executives after he reported witnessing widespread visa fraud.

Industry body Nasscom said attempts are being made to portray the Indian IT sector negatively without paying attention to “facts and logic". Nasscom president R. Chandrashekhar said its members continue to cooperate with US authorities on any requests for information.

The US is the largest market for the over $140 billion Indian IT services industry. Exports account for over $98 billion.

PTI contributed to this story.

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