NEW YORK – According to the New York Attorney General, Infosys, the Indian multinational IT outsourcing and consulting company, placed foreign workers in New York jobs without paying prevailing wages and the taxes owed on them.
Today (June 23), Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced a $1 million settlement with Infosys Corporation, for “systematically abusing the United States visa rules in placing foreign workers at client sites in New York State.” This can hardly bode well for the Indian company that has been trying to reposition itself in the U,S, after President Donald Trump took office, and the potential changes in store for H-1B visas of which Infosys is one of the major users. It has attempted lately, also portray itself as a company employing local American workers.
Infosys Corporation has a significant presence in New York State, said the press release from Schneiderman’s office. The settlement resolves whistleblower claims that Infosys Corporation, in the course of providing outsourcing services, routinely brought foreign IT personnel into New York to perform work in violation of the terms of their visas, it says.
The H-1B visa allows a business to employ a foreign national temporarily in a “specialty occupation” in the United States, and H-1B visa holders in New York are accordingly paid according to prevailing wage requirements, and state taxes are withheld on salary earned while working in the State.
The Attorney General’s office contends that Infosys knowingly and unlawfully obtained temporary visitor visas (B-1 visas) instead of H-1B. The B-1 visas are much easier to obtain but do not allow visa holders to work here.
Infosys workers using B-1 visas were doing work that would otherwise have been performed by U.S. citizens or H1-B visa holders, and were paid significantly less than what comparable U.S. workers or H1-B visa holders would have been paid in the same positions, Schneiderman’s office says.
According to the AG’s investigation, Infosys provided instructions to employees on B-1 visas regarding how to deceive U.S. Consular Officials and/or Customs and Border Protection Officers. This conduct included creation of a “Do’s and Don’ts” 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 Indian company sent “invitation letters” to U.S. consular officials that contained materially false representations about the true purpose of the Infosys employees’ visits to the United States
Schneiderman thanked the whistleblower and its attorneys, and to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, for their assistance in bringing this case to resolution. The New York AG’s office was helped by the investigative work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Texas and other federal law enforcement, on which this investigation significantly relied, the press release said.