For all of the recent news concerning Foreign Corrupt Practices Act compliance and the business that U.S. companies conduct abroad, often lost in the shuffle is the fact that many companies import outside labor to work domestically. Companies such as AstraZeneca and Syngenta, have relied on outside outsourcing services like InfoSys Ltd. to train and import specialized laborers to fulfill their engineering and management needs.

But those labor outsourcing companies have rules and regulations to follow as well. And InfoSys has learned what happens if you run afoul of the federal government – to the tune of a record-breaking fine.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the government is expected to announce a fine of $35 million for InfoSys, the largest immigration fine ever. The government alleges that the Indian outsourcing company illegally placed incoming workers on inexpensive, easy-to-obtain visitor (H1-B) visas rather than proper work visas meant to cover a longer stay.

The WSJ says that InfoSys was the second-largest user of H1-B visas in 2012, trailing only Cognizant Technology Solutions, according to U.S. Department of Homeland Security numbers. In that year, InfoSys received 9,640 H1-B visas, including both new visas as well as renewals.

Infosys told the WSJ that it is discussing “a civil resolution of the government’s investigation into the company’s compliance” with employment-record “I-9 form” requirements and past use of the visitor’s visa. A company spokesman said that InfoSys has set aside $35 million for legal costs in the case and that the figure was “a good indication” of the amount involved.

The U.S. attorney’s office handling the case did say that the office only expects to pursue civil penalties, and any settlement payment from InfoSys would represent a full resolution to the case.


For more stories about labor, immigration and the law, check out these InsideCounsel pieces:

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Illegal immigrants can sue for wages for work actually performed

Labor: Chinese authorities provide guidance for changed visa and work permit processes