By Praveena Sharma
Infosys Technologies seems to have gotten into the habit of courting controversy. Even as a tax evasion allegation by the Indian income tax department is still staring at its face, the second largest information technology (IT) services exporter has found itself in the midst of another case of visa and tax fraud in the US.
An American employee of Infosys, Jack Palmer has filed a case against the tech vendor accusing it of “systematic visa and tax fraud” to jack up profits.
In his 13-page complaint filed before an Alabama court, Palmer has alleged that Infosys sent lower level and unskilled foreigners to the US to work in full-time positions at its customer sites in direct violation of immigration laws. Palmer, who says he worked as ‘Principal-Enterprise Solutions’ since August 2008, alleged that it was paying these employees for full-time work without withholding federal or state income taxes, and overbilled customers for the labour costs of these employees.
Defending Infosys, TV Mohandas Pai, member of the board and director (human resources), said the company would take appropriate action. “(We cannot react as) the matter is sub judice but we shall rigorously defend ourselves.”
Palmer said after the government restricted the H-1B programme in 2009, he was sent to Bangalore for planning meetings. “During a meeting, the management discussed the ways to 'creatively' get around the H-1B limitations and work the system in order to increase profits and the value of Infosys’ stock,” he said.
“The decision was made by management to start using the B-1 visa programme to get around the H-1B restrictions,” Palmer alleged.