Photo: Wikimedia Commons
An Alabama state judge has ruled that Indian outsourcer Infosys didn’t break any state laws in a case brought by a former employee who accused the company of misusing work visas to bring overseas workers to the U.S.But the bigger issue is whether Infosys, a tech outsourcing firm based in Bangalore, India, actually did break U.S. visa rules.
The former employee, Jay Palmer, accused Infosys of illegally using low-paid foreign workers on U.S. projects instead of hiring U.S. workers at market wages.
Palmer alleged that his employer used short-term business visitor visas, or B-1 visas, to bring workers into the country. A B-1 visa allows people to enter the country for a few months for business reasons, such as attending a conference or negotiating a contract, but not to work.
If a company wants to bring in overseas workers for technical positions, they need an H-1B visa. But those are hard to get. They are supposed to be granted to people who have specialty skills for jobs that cannot be filled by U.S. workers and the U.S. only issues 65,000 of them a year.
The point of the program is to bring in people with special skills, not people willing to accept lower wages because they depend on their employer for the right to reside in the U.S.
Palmer says he was harassed at work and even received death threats for refusing to go along with the vias scheme, reports Computerworld.
But the judge threw out the case, saying that no state laws were broken.
This doesn’t get Infosys entirely off the hook. There’s still a U.S. investigation going on.
Meanwhile, Infosys has been under pressure by investors to both grow its market share and increase its margins. That has meant intense pressure to keep costs low—as are all tech outsourcers.
Palmer said in an interview with CBS News that the outsourcer was shipping in low-cost overseas workers instead of hiring higher-paid U.S. tech workers.
Infosys has denied wrongdoing. In a statement, the company said, “Today’s decision confirms what we have been saying from the beginning: Mr. Palmer’s claims of retaliation were completely unfounded.”
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