Infosys Agrees To Pay $34M Fine to Settle Visa Fraud Charges

On October 30, 2013, federal officials announced a record civil settlement agreement requiring Infosys Corporation, an Indian software firm, to pay a $35 million civil settlement over allegations that the company fraudulently used B-1 visitor visas to employ Indian engineers, rather than using H-1b or other employment authorizing visas. This settlement payment represents the largest payment ever levied in an immigration case.

The Department of Justice had asserted that Infosys was using employees in B-1 status to circumvent the requirements and limitations of the H-1b visa program. B-1 visitors for business are typically only permitted to enter the U.S. to attend meetings, consult with business associates, or negotiate contracts, for example. DOJ claimed that agencies had identified approximately 6,500 foreign nationals who had entered the U.S. under the B1-visa program, and were working for Infosys in violation of their visa.

Specifically, federal officials alleged that Infosys submitted letters to U.S. Consular Officials that contained false statements regarding the true purpose of the B-1 visa holder’s travel to the U.S.; issued memoranda to B-1 visa holders advising them of how to “deceive U.S. Consular Officials”; and actively concealed the fact that B-1 visa holders were performing jobs that involved skilled labor, by both revising contracts and billing clients for the use of off-shore resources.

As part of the settlement agreement, Infosys acknowledged mistakes and omissions relating to I-9 paperwork and record keeping, but denied committing any visa fraud. This high-profile case could prompt more rigid requirements for work visas in the future.