Category Archives: Editorial

Infosys. Is it a Sea of Change for Businesses?

On October 30, 2013, Infosys, the Indian multinational provider of business consulting, information technology, software engineering and outsourcing services, agreed to pay $34 million in fines for I-9 violations. What makes this remarkable is the detailed 13-page settlement agreement that lays out in excruciating detail the company’s long use of B-1 visa holders to supplement their work force.

The federal investigation was instigated by private civil lawsuit, which had been filed by a former manager who was alleging discrimination and breach of contract. That manager, Jay Palmer, alleged that he was retaliated against when he questioned the firm’s potential violations of U.S. immigration laws.

Infosys was using engineers who were B-1 visa holders to enter the U.S. and write code and do other “work” that the DHS held was not allowed under that visa class. Evidence included detailed statements and internal Infosys documents that coached those engineers on what to say when entering the U.S. Infosys, has not admitted to any wrong doing and settled only to avoid protracted litigation.

This raises the question that if the evidence of those violations was so strong, why was the settlement only for I-9 violations? That answer lies in the complex nature of immigration law. Consider this statement in the Wall Street Journal by the lead government prosecutor, Shamoil Shipchandler:

“It’s not 100% clear what someone who holds a B-1 visa can actually do,” he said. For example, placing someone within a company for six months to do in-house tech support is an improper use of a B-1 visa. But if a consultant helps refine software during a meeting with a client, as part of a larger project, that could be seen as an appropriate use of a visitor visa, Mr. Shipchandler said. “It’s a murky area, but for our purposes they misled consular officials.”1

Thus, it becomes clear that what the government was actually concerned about was the “coaching” of employees when they applied for visas or entered the U.S. on their B-1 visas. This will likely translate into those businesses, especially in the IT industry, facing greater scrutiny when applying for business-based visas.

The Wal-Mart settlement over sub-contracted labor changed the way in which businesses track the I-9’s of their subcontractors.2 Following the Infosys settlement, the future of business immigration may again be influenced; causing business to re-evaluate the processes by which apply for and document foreign workers.

Savvy business owners are using the Infosys settlement as an opportunity to review their practices and invest in preventative measures. By seeking out affirmative review of their business immigration practices, including I-9 compliance and proper creation and maintenance of H-1B, H1B1 and E-2 status Public Access Files, businesses are hoping to avoid the same fate, or worse, as Infosys. Review of current practices is particularly important in the current political climate, which seems to suggest a stronger shift to employer sanctions and compliance as part of any comprehensive immigration reform legislation.


Sharma-Crawford Attorneys at Law is a Kansas City, Missouri, firm deeply experienced in the complexities of immigration litigation. Whether you are facing criminal or civil litigation in state, federal or immigration court, in Kansas or Missouri – the caring professionals at Sharma-Crawford can help you navigate through the complex legal system. Sharma-Crawford now also offers a full range of business related immigration services. For more information, please call (816) 994-2300 or visit www.Sharma-Crawford.com. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements. The information contained in this article is general information and should not be considered legal counsel.

Naturalization Test Preparation Resources

To qualify for naturalization, applicants must speak, read, and write basic English and understand U.S. history and civics. There are age-based exemptions and a disability waiver. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History collaborated to create a new educational website to help naturalization applicants prepare for the civics and history test. Launched this week, Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship, “features videos and multimedia activities that showcase artifacts from the Smithsonian Institution’s collections and exhibitions.”

Why are hundreds of students from India facing deportation?

Federal authorities have filed, last week, criminal charges against Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton, a major suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area. These charges include misuse of visa permits, indulging in money laundering and other serious crimes. The students, over 1500 of them mostly from India, also, face deportation based on immigration related fraud.

The criminal complaint reveals that Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) found that while students were admitted to various residential and online courses of the university and on paper lived in California, in reality they “illegally” worked in various parts of the country as far as Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Texas. The complaint also indicates that in this instance, more than half of these students were listed as residing in a single apartment located in Sunnyvale California, even though they did not. ICE officials refer to such a set up as a “sham university.”

A student visa, or F-1, requires that a student take a full case load of studies, physically attend classes and be working toward a recognized degree. In this instance, the students do not live in California so it is impossible for any of them to actually attend classes.

ICE officers have round up students and have conducted interrogations. Since the University has closed, many of these students find themselves with no choice but to leave the United States. Some are also being looked at for other immigration related violations and face removal back to India. It is unclear if any of the students will also face criminal charges.

Many of the students paid large amounts of money to obtain a student visa and work authorization. Now, many face removal and a bleak possibility of return to the United States.

The facts of this case, though tragic, shed some light on the necessity to be aware of your visa requirements. Many nonimmigrant visas carry extended restrictions on what can and cannot be done. Most nonimmigrant visas, unless for specific employment purposes, do not allow for employment authorization. Working in violation of a nonimmigrant visa is a common issue that often leads to deportation proceedings being commenced. If an individual is on a nonimmigrant visa, it is best to take precaution and understand the exact requirements of the given visa.

Sharma-Crawford, Attorneys at Law is a firm deeply experienced in the complexities of immigration litigation. Whether you are facing criminal or civil litigation in state, federal or immigration court – the caring professionals at Sharma-Crawford can help you navigate through the complex legal system. For more information, please call (913) 385-9821 or visit www.Sharma-Crawford.com. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertisements. The information contained in this article is general information and should not be considered legal counsel.