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US lawmaker for inquiry on Infosys flouting visa norms charges

US lawmaker for inquiry on Infosys flouting visa norms charges

A top US lawmaker has demanded investigations into the allegations that Infosys management in India decided to use the B-1 business visitor visa program to get around H-1B program restrictions.

A top US lawmaker has demanded investigations into the allegations that Infosys management in India decided to use the B-1 business visitor visa program to get around H-1B program restrictions.

Senator Chuck Grassley on Thursday wrote to the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, seeking investigation into B-1 visa program, used by companies to hire foreign workers, not subject to the cap and the prevailing wage requirements of the H-1B program.

B1 is a visa issued to business visitors while H-1B visa is sought by business professionals with specialised skills as sought by employers in the US, and who want to work in the country.

A case has been pending against IT major Infosys in a US court, where the company is accused of importing foreign workers as B-1 business visitors under the guise of attending meetings rather than working for a wage as an employee of a US company, which is forbidden under the statute and regulations governing the B-1 visa program.

Infosys has denied any wrongdoing.

"When unemployment remains at a staggering 8.8 percent, we should be focussing our oversight efforts on employers who are taking advantage of the system and importing foreign workers to the detriment of Americans," Grassley said.

In his letter, Grassley questioned the "B-1 in lieu of H-1B" policy, currently in place.

"Under this low threshold (of the B-1 visa), a company could import workers via the B-1 business visitor visa and evade the H-1B visa cap and prevailing wage requirements that would otherwise apply to such workers so long as the workers could show that their paychecks were still coming from the foreign company," he said.

"Infosys, by its own admission, is an H-1B dependent employer. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, H-1B dependent employers must take good faith steps to recruit the US workers and to offer them compensation that is at least as great as that required to be offered to H-1B non immigrants," the Senator said.

He added, "In light of the allegations against Infosys, and the potential for other employers to abuse the B-1 visa to get around the H-1B visa program, I would appreciate your cooperation to get to the bottom of the situation."

Grassley also sought information about how the B-1 visa is being used by employers and processed by consular officers, including statistics with regard to the numerical distribution of B-1 visas.