Infosys visa fraud whistleblower goes public

Jay Palmer, a former consultant who has accused the Indian IT giant of visa fraud, appears on US breakfast TV

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Infosys visa fraud whistleblower goes public

The man who has accused Indian IT outsource Infosys of defrauding the US immigration system made his case yesterday on US breakfast TV show CBS This Morning.

Jay Palmer, who had worked as a consultant for Infosys, brought a suit against the company last year, alleging that it had used temporary visas to bring Indian staff to the US to work on long-term contracts.

Palmer's allegations, strongly denied by Infosys, prompted a federal investigation into the company.

Yesterday, Palmer appeared on CBS News' This Morning programme and revealed what he claims were the first signs that the company was committing visa fraud.

"I had an employee over from India, and he came up to me and he was literally in tears," Palmer claims. "He told me he was here illegally and he didn't want to be here. He was worried he would get caught."

He says that Infosys originally imported the workers using H1-B visas, reserved for foreign workers with technical skills that are not available in the US, but that the US State Department began to limit the number of H1-B visas available. Infosys then began to use B-1 visas, which are reserved for temporary visits, he alleges.

Infosys has reiterated its denial of Palmer's allegations. "Any allegation or assertion that there is or was a corporate policy of evading the law in conjunction with the B-1 visa program is simply untrue," it said in a statement.

"There is not, nor was there ever a policy to use the B-1 visa program to circumvent the H-1B program. "Similarly there is not, nor was there ever a policy to misuse the H1-B program."

"The number of our employees traveling to the U.S. on B-1 visas is, at any point in time, only a small fraction of all U.S. travel by Infosys employees – typically less than 2% of the total number of Infosys personnel in the U.S.

"And the average trip to the U.S. for an employee on a B-1 visa is less than four weeks, not up to a year, as the story suggests. The numbers and calculations reported in today’s story are inaccurate and misleading.

Earlier today, Infosys CEO S. D. Shibulal told reporters that all employees are obliged to abide by the law. “As and when we have heard of any kind of violation, we have taken very strict action, including very strict disciplinary action, including dismissal.”

Infosys reported its latest financial figures this morning. Sales for the year rose 15% to $7.0 billion, Shibulal warned investors that "“the year ahead looks challenging for the IT services industry, with slow recovery in the global markets".

Earlier this month, a group of former US-based employees of Infosys rival TCS won the right to sue the company over unpaid wages. A class action suit was brought against the company in 2006, but TCS had tried various measures to have the case rejected or tried in India.