Indian IT giant Infosys has agreed to pay a record fine of $34 million dollars for visa violations by its staff members in the US, according to documents released Wednesday.
The US government has been investigating claims that the Bangalore-based group improperly used short-term B1 business visas, rather than H1-B visas for highly-skilled workers, to enable foreign staff to work in the US.
According to court documents, the company “failed to maintain accurate I-9 records for many of its foreign nations in the United States in 2010 and 2011 as required by law”.
The statement added that Infosys “regularly failed to update and re-verify the employment authorization status of a substantial percentage of its US workforce”.
The Bangalore headquartered IT services company has denied “any claims of systematic visa fraud, misuse of visas for competitive advantage or immigration abuse.
It said that the company had however, set aside the funds required to pay the full amount of the fine after admitting to “historical paperwork errors”.
Among the allegations leveled at the company was that it regularly flew IT consultants to the US from India ostensibly for “customer discussions and business development activities” but engaged them “coding and programming” in violation of their visa conditions.
The US investigation was launched after an American employee at the company, Jack B Palmer, complained about the mismanagement of visa applications by certain Infosys managers.
Mr Palmer later took the company to court after management urged him to “drop” the complaints.
Infosys is India’s third largest software company by sales and exports a vast majority of its services to the US where it employs more than 15,000 people.
Infosys said the settlement removes uncertainty of prolonged litigation and allows it to focus on delivering measurable results to its clients.