Infosys Lawsuit Reignites Indian Visa Controversy
June 2, 2011
The buzz from the Infosys lawsuit last year seems to be flaring up again. After Jack Palmer, an Infosys consultant alleged that the outsourcing giant requested that he ink documents stating that company employees were traveling to the U.S. to participate in meetings. This implied that these Infosys employees were not working during their stay in the U.S.; this was seen as a means of bypassing the stringent H1B visa laws.
In addition to this claim, Palmer said in his lawsuit that when he declined to offer his signature on the aforementioned paperwork, he was harassed at the company. At this point in time, things seem to have made a turn for the worse with U.S. Senator Grassley following up on the case; in fact, he has asked for an investigation into the matter by the Department of Homeland Defense, the U.S. security organization created after September 11, 2001.
CNBC-TV 18’s Sunanda Jayasaleen was quoted as saying in a report by moneycontrol.com, Infosys has conveyed to the Securities Exchange Commission in the Form 20-F filing that the company is aware of a complaint raised by a consultant. Infosys reiterated that in his role as a consultant/manager, he has observed a misuse of the B-1 visa. Infosys sources reportedly said that this matter would be taken up as part of the SEC filing. It is possible for a negative outcome from the lawsuit to impact the firm significantly. Currently, B-1 visas are given for short stays, ranging from 3-4 months. During this work, the work done is not paid for directly.
Since there is ample room for interpretation of B-1 visa guidelines, there is also a large margin for misuse of visas. As a result, NASSCOM, the trade body of India, and the U.S. Embassy are taking an active part in establishing more concrete guidelines.