IBM Settles Allegations for Abuse of Indian Software Developers Visas

Posted on Feb 01, 2014

IBM has confirmed that the company will pay $44,400 in civil penalties in response to giving preference to Indian software developers on IBM online job postings.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, IBM had deliberately placed online job postings to attract application and software developers with preferential treatment given to those with F-1 visa status and H-1B temporary visas. F-1 visas are used to allow foreign students to study in the United States, and H-1B visas are issued to overseas employees who have specialized technical knowledge in their fields.

The Justice Department ruled that the job postings were in violation of the anti-discrimination provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by offering foreign workers employment over U.S. citizens. The INA dictates that employers cannot discriminate against workers on the basis of citizenship status "unless required to comply with law, regulation, executive order or government contract."

IBM is one of several corporate employers to pay a settlement for recent visa violations:

  • Last October, Indian IT firm Infosys paid $34 million to the Federal Government to settle accusations of “systematic visa fraud and abuse of immigration processes.” The investigation confirmed that Infosys employees were sent to the U.S. under B-1 visas when H-1 visas were unavailable, and that employees were coached on how to avoid revealing that they would be working in the U.S. when applying for the B-1 visas.
  • In February 2013, Mumbai-based Tata Consultancy Services was penalized $30 million when officials discovered that employees had been forced to sign over their tax refund checks to the company when they left the U.S.

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