Morning Coffee Apr 12 2012

Infosys and its Bids for H-1B Visas

By kelly eggers

New allegations stemming from a whistleblower's complaint contend that Indian tech giant Infosys has been practicing widespread, systematic visa fraud in an effort to hire inexpensive foreign workers for necessary roles in the U.S.

The whistleblower, Jay Palmer, told CBS News that after an employee who was in the country illegally came to him, he began investigating the large numbers of workers from the company's Bangalore headquarters the company was bringing in on skilled worker, or H-1B, visas.

A significant number of the employees who were brought into the U.S. by Infosys, Palmer says, were not any more skilled than American workers, but cost less than comparable Americans would in the same positions, allowing the company to bring in greater profit.

Some workers were also allegedly brought to the U.S. on B-1 visas after the government placed a cap on the number of H-1Bs that can be issued. B-1 visas are intended for foreign workers who are needed in the U.S. for conferences or training. Palmer contends that those in the country on B-1 visas were actually working full-time jobs, exempt from taxes. He cites a document from the Infosys intranet, which provides tips on how to phrase B-1 visa applications to gain approval by the State Department.

Infosys has denied the allegations, saying in a statement to CBS News that "Any allegation or assertion that there is or was a corporate practice of evading the law in conjunction with the B-1 visa program is simply not accurate." It also denies accusations in Palmer's civil lawsuit that say Infosys retaliated against him after he blew the whistle on the company's practices. Whistleblowing is protected by law in the U.S. The civil case is scheduled for trial in Alabama this summer. (CBS News)

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At last month's ArabNet conference, a Lebanese forum for start-ups and entrepreneurs, 40% of presentations were delivered by women, a higher percentage than at similar conferences in Europe.

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A new report from the Commerce Department finds that nearly a quarter of all jobs in the U.S. are supplied by companies dependent on patents, copyrights and trademarks. Workers in the 75 sectors deemed intellectual-property intensive make, on average, 42% more per week than those in other industries.

Turning Things Around (Bloomberg)

Electronics maker Sony Corp. will cut 10,000 employees in a company-wide restructuring, Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai announced yesterday.

Fostering Innovation (Bloomberg)

French citizens tired of high unemployment rates are evaluating their presidential candidates based on their interest in fostering the growth of start-ups in the Silicon Sentier of Paris, the region's equivalent of the Valley.

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List of the Day: Revamped Networking

Don't limit yourself to wine and cheese events that are boring even to the organizer.

1. Pick a fun Groupon and meet people who also chose that activity.

2. Find out which bar people in your industry tend to gravitate to. Go hang out there.

3. Wherever you are, work up the courage to talk to someone.

(Source: Forbes)



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