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Don't Get Sued for Misusing Work Visas

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By Andrew Lu on August 27, 2012 9:53 AM

Infosys is getting sued again for allegedly misusing work visas.

The Indian outsourcing company that specializes in business and IT consulting allegedly misused temporary visitor visas to bring permanent workers into the U.S. In addition, the company allegedly failed to pay the workers the prevailing wages and then harassed employees who complained, reports The Associated Press.

In short, it's claimed that Infosys violated almost every immigration law in an effort to save time and money. Now they're facing several lawsuits and are subject to an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security. Here are some lessons to be learned from the Infosys immigration abuse case:

  1. Seek the appropriate visa. It may be tempting to get a worker into the U.S. on a visitor or tourist visa. These visas are granted almost immediately and are relatively inexpensive. However, if you intend to hire a foreign worker on a permanent basis, you must seek the proper nonimmigrant visa like a H1B or employment-based immigrant visa.
  2. Pay prevailing wages. You generally have to pay your foreign workers the same wages that you would pay your American workers. Hiring foreign workers should not be used as a tool to save salaries. So you cannot pay Indian workers the same wages they would have received in India if it is less than U.S. wages, as Infosys allegedly did.
  3. Wait patiently. Getting the appropriate work visas can require wait periods of several years. As an employer, you must consider whether this wait is worth it, as opposed to hiring an American worker. You cannot attempt to bring in foreign workers on other types of visas and then attempt to adjust status later. This is likely visa fraud.

The immigration process can involve a lot of complicated forms and documents. You should contact an immigration attorney if you need help with a specific employee.

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