L&T Tech Services Settles US Visa Fraud Allegations for $9.9 Million

The company has been accused of underpaying visa fees by using cheaper B-1 visas instead of the required H-1B visas between 2014 and 2019

L&T Tech Services Settles US Visa Fraud Allegations for $9.9 Million

Tuesday April 11, 2023,

2 min Read

India-based L&T Technology Services (LTTS) has agreed to pay $9,928,000 to resolve allegations that it underpaid US visa fees by obtaining inexpensive B-1 visas instead of the required, costlier H-1B visas for its foreign personnel, thereby violating the False Claims Act. The company, which provides services and personnel to US companies, has offices in Edison, New Jersey.

B-1 visas, which generally do not allow visa holders to perform paid labor in the US, had fees ranging from $200 to $300 during the period in question, with no limit on the number of visas issued. In contrast, H-1B visas, which permit foreign nationals to work in the US, had fees between $4,000 and $6,000 and were subject to an annual cap of 65,000 visas for foreign nationals with the equivalent of a bachelor's degree in an occupation requiring specialized knowledge. An additional 20,000 H-1B visas were available annually for individuals with a master's degree or equivalent in such fields.

A statement issued by the US Attorney's Office for the District of South Carolina stated that the settlement was initiated following the filing of a whistleblower complaint in the United States District Court in Charleston, South Carolina. The whistleblower, Michael Harmon, is entitled to a percentage of the recovered amount.

U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina, Adair F. Boroughs, stated that the U.S. Attorney's Office aims to hold those who violate the country's visa requirements accountable and to protect American jobs for American workers. The settlement sends a clear message that those who exploit US immigration and labor laws will be found and held responsible, added Ronnie Martinez, Special Agent In Charge of HSI Charlotte.

The case was investigated by several agencies, including Homeland Security Investigations, the USCIS Nebraska Service Center Fraud Detection Unit, the U.S. Department of State's Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service. The settlement resolves the allegations, and no determination of liability has been made. LTTS has denied any liability and cooperated with the United States in the matter, taking significant steps to ensure compliance with U.S. visa laws.