Millennium Post

Visa furore: Infosys arrives at settlement with New York state

Infosys has reached a settlement for $1 million with the state of New York for "systematically abusing" the H1-B work visa programme, allegations that Infosys has denied. The development comes just days ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting US President Donald Trump, where he is expected to take up the issue of H1-B visas for skilled workers.

In a statement, New York Attorney General Eric T Schneiderman said the $1-million settlement with the Indian IT firm has been reached to conclude the investigation.

It added that Infosys had failed to "properly compensate hundreds of workers and to pay applicable taxes, by systematically abusing the US visa rules in placing foreign workers at client sites in New York State".

Infosys denied any wrong-doing, saying the agreement concludes the State of New York's investigation relating to the amount of taxes the company paid in 2010 11 without any criminal or civil charges being filed. "While this investigation centred on alleged paperwork errors, the company committed no wrong-doing and denies all allegations made in this regard," the Bengaluru-based firm said.

Infosys said 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". Infosys has a significant presence in New York State and provides consulting and outsourcing services to many New York-based clients in the financial sector, among other industries.

The settlement resolves a whistleblower's claims that Infosys, 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.
"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," the New York attorney general (NY AG) said.

The NY AG statement explained that in order to perform the services offered by Infosys in New York State, its foreign workers needed H1-B 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," it said.
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