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Infosys Fined $35M For Illegally Bringing Programmers Into US On Visitor Visas 201

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-you-ain't-cheatin'-you-ain't-tryin' dept.
McGruber writes "The U.S. government fined Infosys $35 million after an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department found that the Indian company used inexpensive, easy-to-obtain B-1 visas meant to cover short business visits — instead of harder-to-get H-1B work visas — to bring an unknown number of its employees for long-term stays. The alleged practice enabled Infosys to undercut competitors in bids for programming, accounting and other work performed for clients, according to people close to the investigation. Infosys clients have included Goldman Sachs Group, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. Infosys said in an email that it is talking with the U.S. Attorney's office, 'regarding a civil resolution of the government's investigation into the company's compliance' with employment-record 'I-9 form' requirements and past use of the B-1 visa. A company spokesman, who confirmed a resolution will be announced Wednesday, said Infosys had set aside $35 million to settle the case and cover legal costs. He said the sum was 'a good indication' of the amount involved."
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Infosys Fined $35M For Illegally Bringing Programmers Into US On Visitor Visas

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  • When (Score:5, Insightful)

    by msobkow (48369) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @05:40PM (#45274189) Homepage Journal

    When is the punishment going to be "No, you're out of business, you fraud. You don't play fair. You cost us jobs. You're GONE."

    These bastards *made* more than 35 million off the scam. They're turning a profit off it.

  • by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @05:43PM (#45274223)
    My guess is that more American companies will be looking into this as a solid business model, and that the fines will just be a cost of doing business.

    Anything to get rid of those pesky American workers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @05:46PM (#45274253)

    For each and every position which they did not higher industry median wage for they should pay 3 times the difference in wages + benefits (including pay-ins to the government) that were not disbursed. Further they should also have to pay some type of fine per position, per (year/quarter) that the violations occurred.

    In other words, they should for SURE show a net loss for this bad behavior. If the behavior is egregious enough those in authority at the time should also face real jail time.

    Anything less than that is a slap on the wrist and will not curb this behavior among companies who look at the balance sheet and conclude that the fines are a cost of doing business.

  • Missing Step 2 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Notabadguy (961343) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @05:47PM (#45274275)

    We're missing step #2, which is "And since you're defrauding the government among other customers, you're blacklisted from doing business with them again."

    $35m isn't a drop in the bucket.

  • H1B Scam (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oldhack (1037484) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @05:50PM (#45274299)

    Dump H1B. Instead of giving out Visa for foreign nationals, we should try to KEEP foreign graduates in this country - make it easier for foreign students graduating from US colleges to live and work in the US.

    This is no brainer - many of the best and brightest from all over the world are already here in our universities.

  • by icebike (68054) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @05:50PM (#45274305)

    But why bother?

    H1B is not all that hard to get.
    You just lay off your current workers, then lie about there being no available US workers that meet the (carefully crafted) criteria.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @06:08PM (#45274443)

    There are both good and bad reasons to grant Visas to tech workers. We should not turn down genuine talent that wants to work here. Having bright minds emigrate, work, live, contribute, and integrate here is probably one of the biggest foundations of America's success.

    What we don't want is a bunch of scum fucks importing slave-pay workers to save a buck. I say bring in the IT/tech talent, but on the condition they are paid competitive wages and compensation (And enforce that with some teeth!). You also need to make sure they have freedom and mobility so their sponsor company can't hold their visa over them as a form of extortion.

    Granting guest workers MORE privileges and protections will ensure that they're less attractive to unscrupulous outfits looking to save money instead of hiring available domestic talent. Companies that genuinely need foreign talent will happily pay for it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @06:29PM (#45274615)

    Infosys is not the only one gaming the system. My fortune 20 company is addicted to these "by the pound consultants" from the likes of Infosys/Tata/Berlasoft/you-know-who-you-are as well. There is zero effort put into sourcing local staff and the company pays substantial sums to these firms (who pocket half or more of the hourly rate) when they could just as easily get local employees for the same cost. Then there's the poor sods that are being raped by several levels of middle men and have to live 10 to a flat to make ends meet. The only real benefit to the local firm is the ability to extract hours out of these poor saps that local employees would balk at...as well as the ability to hire/fire on a whim rather than engage in any significant long-term planning.

    The end result is a revolving door of consultants, poor productivity, poor knowledge retention, and poor morale on the part of both the "wage slaves" and the local staff who are interacting with them. And it's readily apparent that this local firm could hire local staff for approximately the same money and improve productivity and morale at the "cost" of not being able to bully wage slaves into working 60 hour weeks for a pittance (once the contractor firm cut is extracted).

    Let's end the practice of enriching the TCS/Infosys companies of the world at the expense of college grads in this country (both foreign born and native born).

  • Re:H1B Scam (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Obfuscant (592200) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @06:37PM (#45274667)

    Since I joined the company, we have already doubled in size, hiring plenty more Americans. ... On the other hand, I and other people like me are actively helping the US economy by creating new jobs.

    Do you honestly think there was nobody in the US who could have done your job? And that the growth of the company you work for is mainly because of your work product?

    Arguing that H1Bs really help the US economy requires the answer to both to be "yes". Otherwise, you are simply taking a job that some US resident could have filled and claiming that you're helping him out by having it.

  • Re:Big deal (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @06:38PM (#45274675)
    Imagine if they faced the kinds of fines leveled at file sharers/pirates.
  • Re:When (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @06:50PM (#45274787)

    As much as I would also delight in seeing some real justice, this solution (as well as any other I've heard) fails to account for the punishment's impact. We're trying to punish the company, not its likely innocent employees.

    Every employee at the company was complicit. If they lose their jobs over this sort of thing enough times, they'll learn to quit working for unethical assholes.

  • Re:Big deal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mateorabi (108522) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @08:33PM (#45275579) Homepage
    Give H1B holders who blow the whistle on their employers violating the law (overworking them, or claiming and paying them as if it were a much lower skilled job that in reality is higher skilled, the employer just wanted to scare off US workers, etc.) either fast-path to a Green Card, double the pay (paid by fines) they would have earned, and/or freedom to move to a different employer for their stay.

    I.e. change the incentives for H1B visa holders to rat out misbehaving employers, rather than being scared to say anything because they loose if they do.
  • Re:When (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thej1nx (763573) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @10:40PM (#45276511)
    How about being reasonable, and having it as "You broke laws and made profit illegally, so we take away ALL of that illegal portion of your profits that was made illegally and charge a 5-10% penalty on top of that, so that it is no longer profitable for you to break our laws" ?

    Corporations care just for the profits. If it is profitable for them to break laws, despite the current penalties involved, they will do so. Make it unprofitable and they are as law-abiding as the next guy.

    You know, it might be kinda better than all that xenophobic bullshit about FOREIGNERS making profittttsss off you.... and trying to shut them down and costing even the legitimately employed folks of the company, their jobs. But I guess, racism and xenophobia is more popular...

  • Re:Big deal (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @11:53PM (#45276949)

    Well, if they're not Americans then they don't deserve a trial. In that case, a drone should be dispatched to off each one of them and their families.

    By denying America the full economic benefit of having the work performed by Americans they are depriving our nation of monetary resources which could be used to further the fight against terrorism. In essence, they are providing support to the terrorists. It is reasonable to kill these sort of supporters of terrorism without trial.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.

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