March 12, 2014

Largest Civil Settlement in Immigration Case: Department of Justice and Infosys Settle Two-Year Investigation for $34 Million

After an investigation lasting more than two years, the Department of Justice announced on Oct. 30, 2013 that Infosys Technologies Limited, Inc., an India-based technology outsourcing company, agreed to pay $34 million in a civil settlement. This is the largest settlement of its kind in an immigration case involving the hiring and relocation of foreign nationals with temporary status from overseas into the U.S. Faegre Baker Daniels attorneys Beth Carlson, James Volling and Scott Wright discussed the groundbreaking case in an article published in the Spring 2014 issue of the Employee Relations Law Journal.

The investigation began in 2011 when an employee in the U.S. made allegations that the company was improperly bringing workers from India under the B-1 business visitor visa category instead of an appropriate work visa category, such as the H-1B work visa category. As pointed out by Carlson, Volling and Wright, multiple federal agencies became involved in this immigration enforcement investigation, including the Department of State, Customs and Border Protection, Department of Labor, USCIS, ICE, Department of Justice, and the U.S. Attorney's Office.

In the civil action to recover damages against Infosys for visa fraud and abuse of immigration processes, the U.S. government brought claims under the False Claims Act (FCA), which holds individuals liable for knowingly submitting false claims to the government. In addition to the FCA claims, the U.S. government also brought claims against Infosys for failing to follow and comply with requirements under the I-9 rules and regulations. Resolution of these claims and allegations led to the $34 million civil settlement, which is further outlined in the article by Carlson, Volling and Wright.

Carlson, Volling and Wright concluded by explaining what the Infosys case means for other U.S. employers. They said companies must understand that the U.S. government is serious about upholding and enforcing immigration laws and regulations. They added that the Infosys case could mean increased enforcement efforts in the future. "[T]he coming months will show whether the Infosys settlement will cause an uptick in further enforcement efforts per the I-9 rules and employer sanctions, the False Claims Act, and the other civil and criminal avenues that can be utilized for immigration enforcement by the government agencies highlighted here," the article stated.

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