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Are employers bringing in low-skilled foreign workers into the U.S. illegally by circumventing U.S. immigration law?
So says a “Whistle-Blower” and Senator Chuck Grassley wants the practice stopped and investigated.
According to a letter that Grassley has sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Grassley tells them:
“…On February 23, 2010, a U.S. employee of Infosys Technologies Limited, Inc., (“Infosys”) filed a complaint in the Circuit Court of Lowndes County, Alabama, alleging that his employer was ‘sending lower level and unskilled foreigners to the United States to work in full-time positions at Infosys’ customer sites in direct violation of immigration laws.’ The plaintiff describ ed ways that Infosys, one of the top ten H-1 petitioning companies, had worked to ‘creatively’ get around the H-1B visa progam in order to bring in low-skilled and low-wage workers, resulting in visa fraud against the U.S. Government…”
The letter specifically details the violations and the gravity of the crimes involved, including the circumventing of Congress in addition to violations of U.S. immigration laws.
“The formal complaint against Infosys details how Infosys management in India decided to use the B-1 business visitor visa program to get around H-1B program restrictions. The plaintiff alleges that Infosys was importing foreign workders as B-1 business visitors under the guise of attending meetings rather than working for a wage as an employee of a U.S. company, which is forbidden under the statute and regulations governing the B-1 visa program… [The Law]… a B-1 visa holder may not come to the U.S. ‘for the purpose of …performing skilled or unskilled labor.’ Under State Department regulations a B-1 visa holder may not engage in ‘local employment or labor for hire.’ If the allegations against Infosys are substantiated, American workers will have been hurt by this company’s fraudulent actions, and the integrity of both the B-1 and H-1B visa progams will have been compromised…”
Grassley expressed his outrage today in a statement released to the press, saying:
“People had come to me with concerns that the B-1 business visa was being abused by companies and putting American workers at risk. Jay Palmer [the person who filed the complaint] was the first person to stand up with convincing evidence. It confirmed our fears. Mr. Palmer was being asked to do shady things, and instructed to ‘be creative’ and find a way around the H-1B visa program. Mr. Palmer has endured a lot of criticism from fellow employees and foreign workers who fear losing their job or being sent home. I very much appreciate him bringing this problem to the world’s attention.”
Grassley has asked for a thorough investigation by the Departments of State and Homeland Security of the B-1 visa program and the use of this visa program by employers to recruit foreign workers who are then not subject to the cap and the prevailing wage requirements of the H-1B program.
Grassley’s office says that in responding, the State Department acknowledged the need for greater fraud prevention in the visa approval process as well as changes to policies that incentivize employers to go around the H-1B program in the Foreign Affairs Manual. The Department of Homeland Security told Grassley that they would work to “develop guidance clarifying the scope of activities permissible in the B-1 business visitor classification.”
But no action has been taken or is forthcoming, according to Grassley:
“To date, however, it appears nothing official has been done to remedy the situation. Infosys continues to bring in foreign workers. In fiscal 2011, Infosys petitioned for nearly 4,700 H-1B workers. Last year, they also petitioned to bring in 300 or more L visa workers.”
Grassley’s letter to State and Homeland Security raised additonal issues:
“More troubling than the illegal ways a company can get around the H-1B program’s restrictions using the B-1 visa program are the legal ways companies can use the B-1 visa program to defy the intent of Congress…[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…”
Jay Palmer, an employee of Infosys, spoke out [about the immigration violations] on CBS This Morning. Palmer is suing the company for using the B-1 visa as subterfuge to the H-1B visa which has more stringent requirements. Grassley is the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee which has jurisdiction over federal immigration policy.
But is this a new problem?
Here is a Lou Dobbs report from 2007. And guess which business was highlighted in the report?
See for yourself.
Why waste a crisis, when it becomes a great opportunity to render Congress and the Constitution irrelevant?