Infosys agrees to pay $34 mn in penalty. BANGALORE: The formal and full agreement between Infosys and US authorities on the alleged visa violations by the IT services company was disclosed on Wednesday.
As per the agreement, Infosys will pay$34 million (Rs 215 crore) in penalties to settle the visa fraud and I-9 paperwork errors that were subject to investigation from the US justice department.
The company has agreed to pay $5,000,000 to homeland security investigations for civil or administrative forfeiture. It will pay $5,000,000 to the department of state for civil or administrative forfeiture, and $24,000,000 to the US attorney’s office for the eastern district of Texas.
“Infosys failed to maintain accurate I-9 records for many of its foreign nationals in the United States in 2010 and 2011 as required by law. During that period, Infosys did not accurately complete a Form I-9 Employee Eligibility Verification Form for many persons that it employed in the United States and did not properly maintain I-9 forms, including a widespread failure to update and re-verify the employment authorization status of a substantial percentage,” the preamble of the settlement agreement said.
The agreement mentioned several instances where it had issues with Infosys’s acts. One of these was: An invitation letter submitted on or about July 3, 2008, relating to an individual known as MG, stated that the purpose of the trip was for `customer discussions and related business development activities’, when, in fact, as known by Infosys, the purpose of the trip was to engage in activities not authorized under a B-1 visa, which included, but was not limited to, coding and programming.
Several similar instances have been pointed out in the agreement. The US has also alleged that Infosys directed foreign nationals to inform US consular officials and/or customs and border protection officers that their destination in the US was the same as that provided in the Labor Condition Application; however, Infosys and the foreign nationals knew that the foreign nationals had been assigned to other destinations in the US.
Infosys said the settlement was focused on historical I-9 paperwork errors from 2010-11 that the company began correcting before the investigation began. “There is no evidence that the I-9 paperwork violations allowed any Infosys employee to work beyond their visa authorization,” said a company statement. Infosys had set aside $35 million for the visa fine, including the attorney’s fees, in the September quarter. So there are no further monetary implications for the company from the settlement.
Infosys has denied US allegations of using B-1 visa holders to circumvent the H-1B visa programme. “Infosys’s use of B-1 visas was for legitimate business purposes and not in any way to circumvent the requirements of the H-1B program. Infosys has long been a significant and responsible participant in the H-1B program. Infosys has never intended to, nor has it ever circumvented the requirements of the H-1B program,” the company said.
Infosys said the settlement removes uncertainty of prolonged litigation and allows it to focus on delivering measurable results to its clients.