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Probe Infy for 'flouting visa norms': US lawmaker

Last updated on: April 15, 2011 14:54 IST

Probe Infy for 'flouting visa norms': US lawmaker

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Lalit K Jha in Washington

A top US lawmaker has demanded investigations into the allegations that Infosys management in India decided to use the B-1 business visitor visa programme to get around H1-B programme restrictions.

Senator Chuck Grassley on Thursday wrote to the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, seeking investigation into B-1 visa programme, used by companies to hire foreign workers, not subject to the cap and the prevailing wage requirements of the H1-B programme.

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Probe Infy for 'flouting visa norms': US lawmaker

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B1 is a visa issued to business visitors while H1-B visa is sought by business professionals with specialised skills as sought by employers in the US, and who want to work in the country.

A case has been pending against IT major Infosys in a US court, where the company is accused of importing foreign workers as B-1 business visitors under the guise of attending meetings rather than working for a wage as an employee of a US company, which is forbidden under the statute and regulations governing the B-1 visa program.

Infosys has denied any wrongdoing.

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Image: Infosys campus.

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Probe Infy for 'flouting visa norms': US lawmaker

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"When unemployment remains at a staggering 8.8 per cent, we should be focussing our oversight efforts on employers who are taking advantage of the system and importing foreign workers to the detriment of Americans," Grassley said.

In his letter, Grassley questioned the "B-1 in lieu of H1-B" policy, currently in place.

"Under this low threshold (of the B-1 visa), a company could import workers via the B-1 business visitor visa and evade the H1-B visa cap and prevailing wage requirements that

would otherwise apply to such workers so long as the workers could show that their paychecks were still coming from the foreign company," he said.

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"Infosys, by its own admission, is an H1-B dependent employer. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, H1-B dependent employers must take good faith steps to recruit the

US workers and to offer them compensation that is at least as great as that required to be offered to H-1B non immigrants," the Senator said.

He added, "In light of the allegations against Infosys, and the potential for other employers to abuse the B-1 visa to get around the H1-B visa program, I would appreciate your cooperation to get to the bottom of the situation."

Grassley also sought information about how the B-1 visa is being used by employers and processed by consular officers, including statistics with regard to the numerical distribution of B-1 visas.



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