The big announcement by Governor Roy Cooper that Infosys is bringing jobs to North Carolina will require some vigilance.
The tech company announced plans to bring 2,000 jobs to the state over a five-year period.
According to Governor Cooper’s press release, Infosys plans to invest $8.73 million in Wake County. The press release says an estimated $2.9 billion will be added to the North Carolina economy.
The jobs come with a price for taxpayers. Infosys could receive more than $22 million in tax-payer funded incentives through 2029 if they meet certain job creation criteria.
“North Carolina’s central role in technology innovation makes our state a perfect fit for Infosys,” said Governor Cooper. “Our world-class universities and our high-tech workers drive growth and attract companies from around the world that are looking to innovate.”
The release also says that jobs coming to the state include software developers, analysts, digital architects and other technology professionals.
Salaries for the new positions will vary, delivering a total payroll impact of more than $130 million each year to the community, once all positions are filled.”
“We are proud to partner with North Carolina and Governor Roy Cooper in delivering one of the largest jobs commitment in North Carolina state history. Together, we will develop the next generation of North Carolina innovators through world-class education and training in the critical skills of the future, including Artificial Intelligence, data analytics, cloud and more, and bring scale to North Carolina’s already-thriving ecosystem of innovation to help our clients create their digital futures,” said Dr. Vishal Sikka, Chief Executive Officer, Infosys.
Partnering on the project, according to the release is N.C. Commerce, EDPNC, the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, North Carolina State University, Wake Technical Community College, Capital Area Workforce Development Board, Wake County, the City of Raleigh, the Town of Cary, the Town of Morrisville, and Wake County Economic Development/Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.
“North Carolina is well-known for innovation – with a talented technology workforce focused on progressive fields like advanced manufacturing and clean technology; a diverse economy from financial services and life sciences; a vibrant startup community across Wake County and Research Triangle; and top-tier universities and community colleges,” said Sikka. “Together, we can now accelerate and expand, to drive the digital transformation of vital U.S. industries including aerospace, banking, biotech, and energy.”
Infosys’ Checked Visa Past
While this seems like good news, the company has run afoul of visa requirements in the past and was heavily fined for hiring B-1 workers over Americans.
In 2013, Infosys paid the largest fine in history in a settlement over H-1B and B-1 visa abuse.
The company was using B-1 visa holders to do jobs that are required to be performed by U.S. citizens or legitimate H-1B visa holders.
Infosys settled the 2013 case which alleged “systemic visa fraud and abuse of immigration processes.” The company paid a record settlement amount of $34 million. This was the largest payment ever in such a case.
In addition, Infosys committed to fix their corporate compliance measures. However just a few years later the company was back in hot water.
More Trouble with Visas
Early in 2017, the company paid out a $1 million settlement in New York. In that case, Infosys failed to pay workers a commensurate salary, pay the applicable taxes and broke H-1B U.S. visa rules – again.
A whistle-blower claimed that Infosys routinely brought in foreign IT personnel to do work in violation of the terms of their visas.
New York Attorney General’s press release on the settlement said that Infosys was “systematically abusing the United States visa rules in placing foreign workers at client sites in New York State.”
The press release stated that “Infosys provided instructions to employees on B-1 visas regarding how to deceive U.S. consular officials and/or customs and border protection officers.”
In May, Infosys announced that it was aiming to hire 10,000 U.S. employees over the next two years. Clearly, North Carolina is going to see some of those jobs.
The announcement by Infosys came shortly after the Trump administration began ramping up scrutiny of the H-1B visa program for skilled foreign workers.
Given the history, State officials will have to be vigilant as Infosys begins its hiring process, lest North Carolina workers be shut out.