Thursday, November 10, 2011

B1 Visa v/s H1B Visa | Legal tussel for infosys over B1 visa Mis-use

  • H-1B Visa  is required for an employee who is coming to the United States to perform services in a prearranged professional job.
  • H-1B Persons in Specialty Occupation which requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge requiring completion of a specific course of higher education. (65,000). This category also includes fashion models and Government-to-Government research and development, or co-production projects administered by the Department of Defense (100);
  • Before applying for a temporary worker visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad applicants must obtain an approved Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker from USCIS. This form must be submitted by your prospective employer at USCIS’s Temporary Workers webpage no earlier than 6 months prior to the proposed employment start date. Employers should file the petition as soon as possible within the 6 month period to allow adequate time for processing. Should you need petition processing faster, see Premium Processing Service on USCIS website. Once approved, the employer will be sent Form I-797, Notice of Action.
  • Fees:
The USCIS filing fee is currently US$ 190, which must be paid by the sponsoring employer. In addition to the filing fee, the USCIS imposes a Fraud Prevention and Detection fee of US$ 500. For H1B applications, the USCIS also imposes a American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act (ACWIA) fee of US$ 1,500 if the petitioner employs more than 25 full-time equivalent employees, including any affiliate or subsidiary, or US$ 750 if the petitioner employs 25 or less full-time equivalent employees. Finally, consular visa processing usually involves a charge of approximately $105 in local currency. Prevailing Wage Determinations and Labor Condition Applications are free of government charges.

B1 Visa:
  • The visitor visa is a type of nonimmigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business (B-1) or for pleasure, tourism or medical treatment (B-2). International travelers with visitor visas comprise a large portion of temporary visitor travel to the United States.
  • B1 visas do not permit an employee / visitor to work in the US
  • Non-petition-based nonimmigrant visa (except E): $140.00
Source from Economic times:

In a blow to Infosys Indias secondlargest IT services exporter a US federal judge has ruled against arbitration in the Jack Palmer versus Infosys case on Wednesday.The case proceedings started in February.It charges Infosys with large-scale visa fraud.The case will now be decided in court.According to Palmer,an Infosys employee in the US,the company has been illegally using B1 visas in lieu of H1B visas.Unlike H1B visas,B1 visas do not permit an employee to work in the US.Palmer said the company has been using B1 visas to send employees to work on projects at client locations.

A court battle will make matters tougher for the technology major as it will now have to convince a jury in a country where Indian outsourcers are already being blamed for taking away technology jobs.The case could have massive implications of Infosys brand in North America from where it gets over 60% of its revenues.If decided against Infosys,it threatens to make acquiring visas tougher for the entire Indian IT industry that depends on H1B visas to send employees to work onsite.The matter has drawn widespread attention in the US.Apart from Palmers case,it has led to a subpoena for the company by a grand jury in a district court in Texas and the issue was taken up by US senators.Infosys had requested that its dispute with Palmer be resolved by an arbiter,as mandated by an agreement between the parties at the time of employment.In an 18-page order,US district court judge Myron H Thomson called the contract between the software giant and Palmer unconscionable.The arbitration provisions,included within a larger employment contract,are boilerplate and drafted by the party with superior bargaining power,the employer, the judge wrote in his order.In his complaint,Palmer has also said that Infosys improperly asked its US employees to write welcome letters for unskilled workers.Welcome letters are mandatory for visas.According to Palmer,when he took up the matter with the Infosys whistleblower team,he was subjected to harassment,including threatening phone calls,denial of bonuses,derogatory comments and increased working hours.Palmer has asserted that the employees on B1 visas worked for clients like Walmart,Goldman Sachs and American Express.In the past two years,the cost of H1B visas has doubled and experts said rejection rates too have gone up.Infosys said it could not comment on the development as the matter was sub judice.In a previous statement,the company had said that Palmer was spreading falsehoods to get as large a payout as possible.There is not,nor was there ever a strategy,scheme,or policy by the company to use the B1 visa programme to circumvent the H1B visa programme.The company did not have a practice of sending unskilled employees to the United States on B1 visas to do the work expected of skilled individuals in the US on H1B visas, the company had said in an official statement in July.In the past few months,Infosys has hired Stephen A Jonas,one of the top criminal lawyers in the US and brought on board Vasudev Nayak,an expert in visa and immigration-related matters,who was earlier employed with crosstown competitor Wipro.The company,which has around 18,000 employees in the US,is also increasing its headcount in the region rapidly with a majority of the new employees being American citizens.