US to slap fine on Indian outsourcing firm Infosys over visas: Report

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US government plans to punish Indian outsourcing giant Infosys Ltd with the largest immigration fine ever for seeking visas fraudulently for workers at big clients in America, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Infosys is accused of putting workers on visitor visas rather than work visas. The former are much easier and cheaper to obtain than the latter. The fine is expected to be about US$35 million (S$43 million), the paper said, quoting people close to the matter.

A probe by the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department concluded that Infosys used easy to get B1 visas, which are meant for short business visits, to bring an unknown number of its workers to the United States for long-term stays, the people were quoted as saying.

The fine will be announced on Wednesday, the Journal said.

It said a company spokesman confirmed a resolution will be announced on Wednesday and said Infosys had set aside US$35 million to settle the case and cover legal costs.

With its alleged practice Infosys could undercut competitors in bids for programming, accounting and other work performed for clients, the Journal said.

Infosys clients have included Goldman Sachs Group, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc.

Infosys is known as an outsourcing company that does India-based computing and other technology services for Western clients.

But it also features thousands of US based employees who develop and install software for accounting, logistics and supply-chain management in the retailing, finance and manufacturing sectors, the Journal said.