Infosys served US subpoena on B-1 visas

The company said it will cooperate with the grand jury in Texas

Indian outsourcer Infosys Technologies said that it received a subpoena on Monday from a U.S. grand jury to provide certain documents and records in connection with the company's use and sponsorship of B-1 business visas.

Infosys said in a filing on Tuesday to the Bombay Stock Exchange that it would comply with the subpoena from a grand jury in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, and will cooperate with the grand jury's investigation.

It is not known whether the subpoena is related to a lawsuit filed in late February in an Alabama court by Jack 'Jay' Palmer, an Infosys employee since 2008, who alleged that Infosys was sending workers holding B-1 visas to work at customer sites.

Infosys was not immediately available for comment.

B1 business visas are intended for short-term uses, such as consulting with business associates, attending business conventions or negotiating contracts.

The H-1B visa, generally used by Indian outsourcing companies, is a non-immigrant visa, which allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.

In a letter in April to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Senator Chuck Grassley questioned the "B-1 in lieu of H-1B" policy currently in place. Grassley, an Iowa Republican, also referred to the case against Infosys in the letter.

Under the low threshold of the B-1 visa, a company could import workers via the B-1 business visitor visa and evade the H-1B visa cap and prevailing wage requirements that would otherwise apply to such workers, so long as the workers could show that their paychecks were still coming from the foreign company, Grassley said.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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