Infosys ran 'unlawful' visa scheme, U.S. alleges in settlement

Infosys to pay $34M in settlement, but disputes all claims

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Palmer's attorney, Kenneth Mendelsohn, said Palmer "was the guy who had the courage to stand up.

"There were many people in Infosys that knew this was going on and just turned the other cheek," said Mendelsohn. "Jay just morally could not do that, even at the risk of harassment and threats."

Palmer gave credit to the federal investigators. "Today is not about me, today is about Ed Koranda, and Tim Forte and the U.S. government and their findings and enforcement of the law," said Palmer, in an interview, referring to the two special agents who investigated the case.

Palmer also said that he "harbors no hard feelings" toward Infosys Executive Chairman Narayana Murthy. "I only wish he would have reached out to me over the last 2.5 years," he said.

"What people don't understand is I tried to fix the problem before I got an attorney, before I turned them in," Palmer said.

The settlement doesn't affect Infosys' ability to obtain visas in the future. But it's unclear whether this agreement is the end of the company's problems.

The government's settlement said that Infosys circumvented visa law "for the purposes of increasing profits, minimizing costs of securing visas, increasing flexibility of employee movement, obtaining an unfair advantage over competitors, and avoiding tax liabilities." These allegations could invite a closer look from the Internal Revenue Service or the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Infosys, as part of the settlement, also agreed to improve its visa compliance procedures.

Ron Hira, a public policy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology and a researcher on tech immigration issues, points out that the $34 million settlement represents a "mere 2% of Infosys profits of $1.7 billion last year."

"Hopefully, policymakers and journalists don't draw the conclusion that the 'system works' because Infosys has settled," Hira said. "Instead, they should see this for what it is -- one small indication of the vast extent to which firms are exploiting loopholes in the visa programs to bring in cheaper foreign workers to displace and undercut American workers."

John Miano, founder of the Programmers Guild, said "it is great to see the government finally doing something." He contends that the use of the B-1 visa to import labor is widespread.

"Until the government starts seeking criminal actions against individuals, illegal actions like this will continue," Miano said.

This article, "Infosys Ran 'Unlawful' Visa Scheme, Alleges U.S. in Settlement," was originally published on Computerworld.com.

Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov, or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His email address is pthibodeau@computerworld.com.

See more by Patrick Thibodeau on Computerworld.com.

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