The recent case against Bangalore-based IT firm Infosys carries a number of implications for Indian H-1B IT workers. Applications may receive additional scrutiny, opponents of immigration reform may use the news to fuel opposition to foreign labor. According to one professor—it may even serve as evidence that Indian technology workers are often unfairly vilified for providing IT services.
Dr. Norman Matloff, computer science professor at the University of California at Davis, says that the case of visa abuse against Infosys is closer to the rule of offshore providers than the exception.
"Abuse of work visas and other nonimmigrant visas pervades the entire industry," Matloff said. "It is not limited to the 'rent-a-programmer' firms such as Infosys. Focus on such firms amounts to scapegoating, meant to draw attention away from the much more general problem."
Infosys, which depends on North American business for 60 percent of its profits, has recently denied allegations of systemic visa fraud, misuse of visas for competitive advantage, or illegal immigration activity. However, the company’s CEO did indicate that they were working closely with the U.S. Department of Justice during the federal investigation, and may be prepared to pay a multi-million dollar settlement to the government.
Vendor management analyst Hansa Iyengar agrees that the investigation should be of particular interest to Indians, but that all immigrant IT workers will likely be impacted by the case.
"The most important implication of this judgment would be an increased scrutiny of visa applications—making it tougher for vendors to get visas and impacting delivery involving large on-site teams," Iyengar said. "Since the visa scrutiny process can't be selectively applied to Indian companies—no one would want to get into discrimination issues—both multi-nationals and Indian vendors will feel the pinch."