Republican Senator wants better enforcement of immigration laws in the tech sector and more protections for whistleblowers revealing when companies abuse the system to cut costs.
In response to reports that the United States federal government is planning to fine tech giant Infosys for alleged abuse of the H1B visa system, Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said that companies like this are finding ways to hurt American workers displaced in the currently bad economy by bringing in cheap foreign labor.
“Some companies are finding creative ways to subvert the H-1B visa program and bring in foreign workers to the detriment of Americans workers,” Grassley said in a statement released Tuesday evening, where he called for protections for whistleblowers from inside companies.
“Corporate whistleblowers who have brought abusive practices to light reveal that too many companies appear to be pushing the envelope and ignoring the intent or spirit of the law,” Grassley added. “It’s time that the administration and Congress do more to reign in the fraud and abuse to ensure that both American and foreign workers are protected.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and State conducted a joint investigation that found Infosys used B-1 visas to bring a number of its employees to the U.S. when it was supposed to have used a different type of visa, H-1Bs. H-1B visas are more expensive than B-1 visas.
“B-1 visas are meant to be used for short stays and can be obtained in a matter of days for $160,” Fox News wrote about the Wall Street Journal report. “H-1B visas entitle the holder to remain in the U.S. for as long as three years. The U.S. issues a maximum of 65,000 H-1B visas per year and acquiring one can cost up to $5,000 per individual.”
“The settlement in the case is expected to be announced Wednesday, according to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas,” Fox News added. “A company spokesman told the Journal that Infosys had set aside $35 million to settle the case and cover legal costs.”
The tech industry has been aggressively lobbying lawmakers on Capitol Hill for passage of the Senate’s immigration bill, which would make several changes to the visa program. Tech executives claim there is a shortage of tech labor in the United States, despite high unemployment levels across the country.