Infosys Denies Misusing U.S. Visas
Bangalore/Washington: India's second largest IT bellwether Infosys Ltd Friday denied misusing B-1 or H1-B visas to send its employees to the U.S. for onsite work. "We do not have a policy to use the B-1 visa to circumvent the H-1B visa. Similarly there is no policy to misuse the H1-B programme," Infosys chief executive S.D. Shibulal told reporters here. Refuting charges by its consultant Jay Palmer that it abused B-1 visas meant for business consultations or attending training courses, Shibulal said the company had a policy that required its employees to fully comply with the immigration laws and visa rules in 30 countries across the world, including the U.S. where it has clients. "On occasions where individuals have reported seeing or hearing of employees who may have acted in ways inconsistent with our policy, we investigated them and have taken disciplinary action, including dismissal from the company," Shibulal asserted. The U.S. television channel Commercial Broadcasting Service (CBS) quoted Palmer as saying Thursday that Infosys brought Indian workers illegally to the U.S. and often abused business visa rules requiring foreign workers to be paid U.S. market rates. Clarifying that the company did not have a policy of sending employees to the US on B-1 visas to do the work expected of workers on H-1B visas, the top executive said any allegation that there was a policy of evading the law in conjunction with the B-1 visa was untrue. "Reports of employee behavior inconsistent with company policy, immigration laws or visa requirements were handled in accordance with our procedures for handling whistleblower complaints and in compliance with the law," Shibulal noted. Palmer also alleged that Indian workers on his team were paid substantially less than an American would have made in the same job. "When the U.S. State Department began to limit the number of H1-B visas, Infosys began using another type (B-1) of visa," Palmer told CBS in an interview. Contesting Palmer's views, Infosys said in a statement later that the number of its employees travelling to the U.S. on B-1 visas, at any point of time, was only a small fraction (two percent) of all US travel undertaken by its employees. "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 (CBS) story suggests. The numbers and calculations reported in the story are inaccurate and misleading," the company reiterated. A judge and jury will have the final say on Palmer's accusations later this summer in an Alabama civil court case. "Palmer's allegations make for an interesting story, but it is not the facts," the company said in a statement televised by CBS earlier in the day. Asked if Palmer would be sacked as its consultant in light of the allegations he made against the company, Shibulal said he would not like to comment as the matter (charges) was pending in the court and was hence sub-judice.
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