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Senator asks for investigation of B-1 visa program

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has asked the Departments of State and Homeland Security to investigate the B-1 visa program and its use by employers "to recruit foreign workers who are then not subject to the cap and the prevailing wage requirements of the H-1B program." In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Grassley questioned the "B-1 in lieu of H-1B" policy currently in place. He wrote, "Under this low threshold [for the B-1 visa], a company could import workers via the B-1 business visitor visa and evade the H-1B visa cap and prevailing wage requirements that would otherwise apply to such workers so long as the workers could show that their paychecks were still coming from the foreign company."

Sen. Grassley also referenced a formal complaint against Infosys by a U.S. employee that alleges Infosys management in India used the B-1 business visitor visa program to get around H-1B program restrictions. He said the complaint alleges that Infosys was importing foreign workers as B-1 business visitors under the guise of attending meetings rather than working for wages as employees of a U.S. company, which is forbidden under the statute and regulations governing the B-1 visa program.

Sen. Grassley has introduced legislation in previous Congresses on the H-1B and L visa programs and plans to introduce a bill again in the 112th Congress.

Sen. Grassley's letter to the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security is available at http://grassley.senate.gov/about/upload/Immigration-04-14-11-Grassley-letter-to-State-DHS-B-1-H-1B-visas.pdf.

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