Whistleblower Carl Krawitt, a former contractor for Infosys and Apple filed a Complaint in Federal Court asserting that the two companies conspired to evade US visa laws relating to H-1B visas. This week, the judge denied Apple’s motion to stop production of documents in the case, setting the lawsuit on course to continue. The lawsuit claims that they conspired to get around the problem of obtaining the costly H-1B visas for two Indian workers. He claims the companies fraudulently acquired B-1 visas, which are intended for temporary business visitors, by telling the U.S. government in “invitation letters” that the Indian nationals were coming for a business meeting when they were actually arriving to train about 75 Apple workers in a six-week program.
“Infosys avoids paying the United States the substantially higher application fee for H-1B visas, and avoids paying Social Security, Medicare and other fees and taxes to the United States,” his amended complaint said. “Apple willingly participated in lnfosys’ scheme by contracting with Infosys for workers on B-1 visas instead of hiring United States citizens and/or green card holders as full-time employees at market rate compensation. Apple did so as a cost-savings measure.” Apple also falsely told federal authorities that it would not be paying Infosys in connection with the two men’s activities in the U.S., the amended lawsuit claimed.
U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh dismissed the case last month but allowed Krawitt to submit more evidence in an amended complaint. Krawitt filed the new complaint Nov. 15.
Krawitt’s new complaint includes a copy of an “invitation letter” from Apple to the U.S. government involving one of the Indian citizens. That letter was virtually identical to one submitted for the other Indian national, according to the lawsuit. Apple told the U.S. government that the person referred to in the letter would not be “performing any productive work” while in the U.S., and that Apple would not pay Infosys any money “directly or indirectly related” to the person’s presence in the country.
The complaint also includes a copy of an executive summary of the contract between Apple and Infosys, which shows Apple was to pay Infosys $50,000 in connection with the men’s visit to an Apple office in Sunnyvale.
Krawitt’s amended complaint alleges that Apple and Infosys knew the services did not fit the requirements for a B-1 visa, “as demonstrated by the letters’ false statements that neither these individuals nor their employers would be paid, to try to cover up this scheme.”
The amended complaint also said that Infosys paid $34 million in settlement to the U.S. government and $1 million to the State of New York, over allegations that it abused the B-1 visa program.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement said at the time of the $34 million settlement in 2013 that Infosys was accused of using false “invitation letters” and that it “knowingly and unlawfully used B-1 visa holders to perform skilled labor in order to fill positions in the United States for employment that would otherwise be performed by United States citizens or require legitimate H-1B visa holders.” The letters “often stated that the purpose of travel was for “meetings’ or “discussions’ when the true purpose was to engage in activities not authorized under a B-1 visa.”
Apple had sought an order to halt “discovery” in the case the production of documents for evidence but on Wednesday, Koh denied that motion, ruling that the case would continue.