A US court has refused to quash a lawsuit filed against IT company Cognizant for fraud regarding visas. Jean-Claude Franchitti, a former company executive, has alleged that Cognizant was using business or intra-company visas instead of the H-1B work permits required to bring workers to the US.
Cognizant is also accused of paying lower visa fees for its foreign employees by using L-1 and B-1 visas instead of H-1B.
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The suit has been filed under the False Claims Act (FCA). New Jersey District Judge Peter Sheridan said last week that Cognizant was responsible for paying the correct fees for the prescribed visas.
The company argued that the FCA does not apply to records and statements made under the US Federal Revenue Code.
“The company engaged its employees in work that required more expensive H-1B visas, but these employees were brought on L-1 and B-1 visas,” the judge said in his order.
The order states that the company’s internal email correspondence shows that Cognizant had committed the breach intentionally. If the company had given the right type of work to its employees, then their visa applications could have been canceled for them. The company has not violated tax laws but immigration laws.
Cognizant, like many other IT companies, has a large number of employees in India and it requires employees to obtain visas to work on projects in the US.
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