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  • U.S. Probes Infosys Over Visas (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304520804576343070058872708.html) By MIRIAM JORDAN | Wall Street Journal

    U.S. authorities are investigating whether an Indian software giant repeatedly violated American visa laws in order to place its own foreign employees in temporary jobs at some big corporate clients in the U.S.

    The probe is examining whether Infosys Technologies Ltd. used inexpensive, easy-to-obtain visas meant to cover short-term business visits to the U.S.�instead of the appropriate, but harder to get, work visas�to bring in an unknown number of its employees for longer-term stays, according to people familiar with the matter.

    These so-called B-1 business visas are intended for foreign nationals who come to the U.S. for purposes such as attending business conventions, consulting with business associates or installing machinery.

    A State Department spokeswoman said the department is investigating Bangalore-based Infosys but declined further comment.

    A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, part of the Department of Homeland Security, said ICE agents had visited Infosys's U.S. offices. However, she said that "as a matter of policy, the agency can neither confirm nor deny the existence of an ongoing investigation."

    In a statement Tuesday, Infosys said it "received a subpoena from a grand jury in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The subpoena requires us to provide information to the grand jury regarding our sponsorships for, and uses of, B-1 business visas."

    In a filing Tuesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it "intends to comply with the subpoena and to cooperate with the grand jury's investigation."

    Infosys is best known as an outsourcing company that provides India-based computing and other technology services to Western clients. But it also boasts thousands of U.S.-based employees who develop and install software for back-office accounting, logistics and supply-chain management for companies in the retail, finance and manufacturing industries. Infosys doesn't disclose the identity of its clients.

    The visa investigation comes amid a national debate in the U.S. over whether foreign workers, particularly in the software sector, are displacing qualified Americans because they are cheaper to employ.

    The investigation has spurred the government to say it intends to tighten visa regulations to close loopholes that critics say enable employers to abuse the immigration system.

    The probe was sparked by a lawsuit filed in Alabama state court earlier this year by an Infosys employee named Jack "Jay" Palmer Jr., alleging that Infosys misused the B-1 visa program. The lawsuit, which was recently moved to federal court, alleges that Infosys should have used a different visa program, known as H-1B, under which high-skilled professionals, such as software developers, are allowed into the U.S. for longer-term work.

    The U.S. issues just 65,000 H-1B visas a year, and demand sometimes exceeds supply. H-1Bs take several months to get and can cost upward of $3,000 per individual. The is no cap on B-1 visas, which can be obtained in a matter of days for $140 each.

    In a court filing, Infosys, which acknowledges using B-1 visas, denied the lawsuit's allegations that it had abused them.

    In an interview, Paul Gottsegen, Infosys's chief marketing officer, said he couldn't comment on a matter before the court, but he added: "We are currently in the midst of a detailed internal review to understand whether we need to change or tighten controls with the visa-application process. We are moving as quickly as possible on this important work."

    After learning of Mr. Palmer's lawsuit, Sen. :DChuck Grassley (R, Iowa):D wrote a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, his staff said, citing the suit and demanding an investigation of the B-1 visa program.

    "I'm concerned about fraudulent actions that at least one foreign-based company has allegedly been taking in order get around the requirements and U.S. worker protections�.," said the April 14 letter, a copy of which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

    Visa fraud can carry penalties of 10 years in prison, in addition to fines. Companies found to violate the terms of a visa program such as H-1B can be temporarily suspended from participating in the program.

    For the fiscal year ended March 31, Infosys had revenue of $6 billion, about two-thirds of which came from North America. To service its U.S. clients, Infosys has become one of the top users of the H-1B visa program, employing about 10,000 H-1B holders in the U.S., according to its annual report. Other large users of the visas include Microsoft Corp. and Indian tech titans Wipro Ltd. and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd.

    H-1B visa holders can remain in the U.S. for as long as three years and are paid locally; their employers withhold federal and state income tax. B-1 visa holders are paid by the employer from their home country.

    In his lawsuit, Mr. Palmer, a principal consultant at Infosys, alleges that Infosys was affected by the limited number of H-1Bs in 2009 and began using B-1s to circumvent H-1B requirements.

    His attorney, Kenny Mendelsohn, said: "We are cooperating with investigators from the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security."

    In March 2010, Mr. Palmer attended meetings in Bangalore, where Infosys officials discussed the need to find "ways to creatively get around the H-1B limitations and process to work the system to increase profits and the value of Infosys' stock," according to the lawsuit. Infosys denies the allegation.

    Later, according to Mr. Palmer's complaint, he was asked to prepare letters in support of B-1 applications stating "the employee was coming to the United States for meetings, rather than to work at a job."

    After he refused to write such letters, Mr. Palmer was instructed "to keep quiet" by a manager sent from India who confirmed the violations, according to the suit�a claim Infosys denies.

    Mr. Palmer reported his concerns to Infosys' corporate counsel, Jeff Friedel, who told him to report them to the company's whistle-blower team, which he did in October 2010, according to the lawsuit. Mr. Friedel didn't reply to a request for comment.

    Mr. Palmer's suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages for, among other things, breach of terms of employment and emotional distress. Mr. Palmer remains employed by Infosys, but he is not currently doing any work, according to his attorney.

    In recent years, Congress has introduced anti-fraud, training and other fees that have significantly raised the price of securing an H-1B visa.

    "As Congress has made the H-1B visa category more expensive and more difficult to obtain, companies have searched for alternatives. The B-1 is one such alternative," said Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration-law professor at Cornell University.

    "Because the B-1 is nebulous, some companies may be going beyond its intention," he added.

    According to State Department regulations, a B-1 visa holder cannot engage in "local employment or labor for hire."

    U.S. Moves from Rhetoric to Action on Visas (http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2011/05/25/u-s-moves-from-rhetoric-to-action-on-visas/) By Megha Bahree and Amol Sharma | IndiaRealTime

    What the Infosys Whistleblower Said on Visas (http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2011/05/26/what-the-infosys-whistleblower-said-on-visas/) By Amol Sharma | IndiaRealTime

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  • WaitNwatch,

    No. How about you:can you show a study and correlation between outsourcing and salary stagnation ?

    Let's be honest and realistic, do you believe that by bringing more workers, how long that would prevent companies from offshoring jobs ? It is true that by not bringing more workers, companies would be more willing to offshore. In my view, companies will offshore regardless in the future. With or without cheaper labor here, they will be tempted to go overseas since the savings are significant, am I right ? At that time is when people has legitimate concerns to control the numbers of newcomers.

    Your logic is getting a little simplistic here. I will try to explain the best I can and this is my last post on the topic. Here are a few points. Try to link them together and you will get a sense of the whole logic.
    (1) Companies outsource because of cheap labor.
    (2) Companies also look elsewhere when there is a shortage.
    (3) There are areas other than high tech (e.g. science, mathematics, biotechnology) that need people from outside (including fresh US university graduates).
    (4) Other countries will catch up with the US if cutting edge companies donot find enough STEM people.
    (5) These other countries with more logical immigration policies will attract talent and the companies will move there.
    (4) Graduates in STEM need to get H1B after their practical training.
    (5) US does not produce enough STEM graduates and cannot entice foreign students if there are no H1B's available when they enter the job market.
    (6) Outsourcing of top science jobs are not only lost jobs but also cause collateral damage and reduce other jobs dependent on that job.
    (7) Without the supply of high quality graduates the companies lose their cutting edge and start cost cutting instead of innovating.

    There is a national research council report which may be available from the National Academy of Sciences. Foreign STEM's are desperately needed and non-availability of H1B visas means fewer students will come as they are uncertain of getting a H1B. Here is an Indian example: The IIT graduate will go to Bangalore and earn enough from day 1 to own a nice apartment, have a chauffeur and a maid. On the other hand you want him to come to the US to work 6 years on a Ph.D getting a student stipend and no guarantee to stay and work. If you think this top brain will come you should be living in the world of Peter Pan.

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  • A little old lady goes to the doctor and says ...

    ..., "Doctor, I have this problem with gas, but it doesn't really bother me too much. They never smell and are always silent. As a matter of fact, I've farted at least 20 times since I've been here in your office. You didn't know I was farting because they don't smell and are silent."

    The doctor says, "I see. Here's a prescription. Take these pills 3 times a day for seven days and come back to see me next week."

    The next week the lady goes back. "Doctor," she says, "I don't know what the hell you gave me, but now my farts ... although still silent... stink terribly."

    The doctor says, "Good! Now that we've cleared up your sinuses, let's start working on your hearing."

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  • EVERYBODY wants those doing Ms and PhD in certain disciplines to stay. They do no harm AT ALL and actually are an asset.

    Consultants need to be curtailed.

    I think the universities are out of control and need to be fixed too. All these people with MS and PHd's enroll in their courses with the full intention of staying on after completing their courses.

    We should ask that the DOS start randomly denying F1 applications based on a ratio that is calculated by reviewing immigrant applications for the past 5 years.

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  • It is not illegal to work on percentage basis. But if employer-employee relationship is now followed the way it should be followed by law then there are issues. For example, you are not in the same medical plans as employees or your work insurance is not covered (or you are not invited in annual christmas party for employees - just kidding). Specially, labor approval procedure has heavy dependency on prevailing wages and salary offered. In percentage basis there is no salary offered. Think about it.

    There is a gray area here. You can believe it is legal because it is nowhere mentioned that it is illegal. The certifying officer may believe that it is illegal because it is nowhere mentioned that it is legal.

    From what I understand, employers ready to pay all these benefits if employee decides to be salaried, but will not give employee control over the billing.

    In my case, I never take per diem, but I do find projects on my own and control over how much I must get and employer adjusts payroll accordingly because I marketed myself and also work hard at the client and get projects extended due to performance which benefits the employer, I also help employer with inhouse work. My wife has excellent benefits covered so I don't bother to take any benefits from my employer other than the money.

    Anyone can be paid a fixed consulting fee, just not h1b. You can find US citizens working for hourly pay because they don't need benefits as they may get through spouse.

    As long as you declare income and pay taxes, this is not a grey area.

    Once again, anti immigrants can make this also an issue as for them everything with H1b seems to be an issue.

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  • Great going folks :D
    Here is one (paraphrased from another):

    Hello, and welcome to the USCIS Hotline. If you are obsessive-compulsive, please press 1 repeatedly. If you are co-dependent, please ask someone to press 2. If you have multiple personalities, please press 3, 4, 5 and 6. If you are paranoid-delusional, hit your head with the handset. If you have COLTS, hang up and check your LUD here (https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/jsps/login.jsp)...

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  • EB2 dates may be unavailable/ dont move. But it is just for a very short span of time. And after that EB2 dates start moving quickly again. I presume by 2009 october, the EB2 India PD will close to 2008. Any retrogression, if there is, in EB2 will be very mild from now on because of the spillovers.

    Regarding EB3: Every year there had been about 100k approvals in EB3 category, out of around 160K(even though there are 140k visas, there have been approving more because they are using unused family visa numbers) approvals in Employment Based Category. This is because of vertical fall outs of visa numbers. Now they have changed the scenario to horizontal fall outs (spreading across at the same category level( ex. EB2) irrespective of country of chargeability.). So this time it would be around 100K approvals in EB2 category.

    Let us make as much noice as we could because of EB3 retrogression. That doesnt effect EB2 movement. But may make it possible visa numbers increase for EB category by legislation. So we have to support this agitation made by our EB3 friends.

    I could seee all the EB3 folks with PD older than 2006 and EB2 folks with PD older than 2008 will be cleared off in the next two years. I am sure there wont be not more than 1 or 2 years delay between EB2 and EB3 categories in near future.And there are lot of things going to happen for employment based immigratin in the next two years.

    This EB2 movement of 2 and half years is just a first step by DOS.

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  • Got a red with following comment
    "hey stop acting like a policeman you desperate immigrant.. think beyond your GC"
    I want to tell this anonymous fella that yes I am desperate immigrant & have been waiting for my GC from last 8 years that's why I am on this form & if you want to post this issue post it on relevant site not here FORM IS ONLY FOR EB RELATED ISSUES.

    I completely agree with you GCBatman. Its an immigration forum and its strictly for immigration purpose only. I loved this site and i always admired the admins and other senior members for their service.

    But IV let its people to vent their anger against muslims and Islam. IV never tried to stop this. Anyway i am not here to vent my anger but to tell the truth that we scared to discuss.

    If we can discuss about Mumbai terrorist attack, are we not suppose to discuss kind of news which is even worse?. Are we not supposed to condemn the killing of innocent school kids and murdering of innocent civilians?

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  • According to wikipedia the def of a consultant is..

    "The main difference between a consultant and a 'normal' expert is that the consultant is not himself employed with his client, but instead is in business for himself or for a consultancy firm, usually with multiple and changing clients. Thus, his clients have access to deeper levels of expertise than would be feasible for them to retain in-house, especially if the speciality is needed comparatively rarely. It is generally accepted good corporate governance to hire consultants as a check to the Principal-Agent problem."

    Consultants have more exposure to the corporate environment than the full time empolyees who do the work as same old same old. Consultants usually and rapidly cater to the needs to the corporate needs of course chanrging huge fees unlike the FTEs.

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  • I have brought a house 4 years back after 2 years in this country. It is $500K house. Ss it really "Rent Apartment vs Buy House" ?
    How about renting a home to provide something good to your family?

    With the home values declining I think it makes way more sense to rent the same house (at least in the area I live). If your mortgage payment is only $500 above apartment rent I would say buy. But if you are looking at paying double as mortgage I think its really inflated.

    I would like to read more about buying foreclosed properties. I hear there are some good deals out there.

    It all depends on the situation, if a person who started this thread can afford to buy a house, wants to buy one, has found a good house in a good location, has got a good deal and if he thinks that not having a GC is the only hurdle, then my suggestion for him would be to buy the house.

    Of course every people�s situation is not the same. If I was in CA, probably I would be living in an apartment now. If you can rent a home and think that makes more sense then buying a house, that�s fine too. If someone can buy a house and give it on rent, that�s even better :o)

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  • How come the concern???

    USCIS forms ask questions for a reason right? They ask for the visa number, consulate issued, etc. There are a lot of inter-agency checks. When people are stuck in background check; it is a whole host of things that they check. Most of what they check is confidential and isn't even public; they are more investigative techniques.

    Because I do not remember which address I used on the visa application, and how I translated my employer's name in home country. In China, at least those days, everyone had a residence record showing your address. We had ours at my in-law's address, while living in a new development. We might used one of those two addresses. Same thing with company names, merging, name changing etc was common.

    According to Crystal and Milind70, I am a bit relieved as my visa application was a long time ago. So I may not need to worry about it. Thanks everyone.

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  • see this pisses me off. why does a guy who studied using India government money and complaining that US govt. is not doing anything for him. First he should go back to India a pay back his dues he got from studying in IIT.

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  • We are old horses fo IV and dont have an agenda against any particular groups or category..all that we are trying to highlight is that our situation since 01..that's it...that having said the people will who are have been objecting to this will get thier GC's this time and will be gone ...and we in EB-3 2002 have to wait for another 2-3 years to get out turn..Can you imagine our situation..So please support this initiative...send out the letters...

    God bless us all!


    This is what you have in the draft letter.

    "Let me take you back to the situation in 2001-2003 when a lot of current (EB3) applicants were qualified under EB2 and RIR category(many of whom had masters degrees from Top US universities) our green card labors applications were sent back from DOL saying that the economy was slow and hence cant apply in EB-2. So we were forced to apply in EB3 NON- RIR categories, but when the economy improved in 04-05 you introduced the PERM system and most people applied in EB2 and got their Labors cleared in few months time while the folks who applied in 2001-2004 were stuck at the backlog centers for 3 plus years."

    Do you have any evidence/reference to back this up?

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  • Let us all have constructive discussion on this bill rather than fighting with each other or blaming others or blaming companies. Think of ways you can strengthen this organization and help us in the work we have in front of us.

    This thread has run into several pages, but the call the lawmakers thread was begging for attention whole of last week.

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  • We should stop these EB3'ers from wasting USCIS resources. Probably make them wear yellow stars with "EB3" printed on it at all times. They should not be hired by any company unless they have hired EB2's with excellent credentials like rolling flood. No EB3 should buy a car, house or lead a normal life at the cost of hurting EB2's like yourself.

    What kind of a sick immigration nazi are you ? Typical shallow minded mentality - "please please...(beg, beg) let me in but - stop everyone else from getting in (as soon as I am in)" ;-)

    Instead of wasting your time filing a lawsuit why don't you apply your "excellent knowledge in your field" to get a Ph.D from your reputed alma mater do extraordinary research in your "great" field and then cut in line by applying for EB1 which I think will always be current. Then you can port your EB2 PD and enjoy the fruits of PD porting ;-)


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  • Relief in the form of no caps or country quotas. Earlier priority dates is kind of arbitrary IMHO.

    This is a better proposition, asking for more relief to Masters or PHD guys makes more sense than asking USCIS to stop porting/interfiling and denying EB3 guys a chance to get faster GC after they have waited for many many years.

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  • the above is harshly put ..should have been in better wording but sadly the essence is correct. I had similar feeling ..after years and years if they cannot give me a plastic green card then I don't want to put my hard earned money in immovable asset and keep paying extra taxes (property plus other) year after year.
    also there is a 0.000000000001 percent chance that they may come up with law of faster GC for those who buy a house (almost impossible that it will happen but who knows and might as well keep that route open :D)

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  • God knows what in store for us. Nothing except our determination is in our favor.

    First sounded funny, then it made helluva sense.

    I suggest to go ahead and buy. I bought a townhome in California. I have been working here from last 8 yrs and thought enough is enough and bought the house.

    if you have plan to stay here for more than 5 yrs you should not wait.

    I enjoyed both the original and follow-up. By the time, the lion gets the GC, he might have forgot he was a lion, and even after getting GC, he will continue to act like monkey.

    the Lion on the monkey visa finding out another Indian (very, very aggravating factor:p) lion in next cage actually on lion visa and not on a monkey visa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! phew! !!!!!!!!!!!! what a heartburn! threatening law suits, opening a new thread in IV. Generally threatening to bring down the zoo::D

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