Foreign Firm Fined $1 Million for Visa Fraud

DALLAS (CN) — Argentine information-technology firm Sistemas Globales agreed Tuesday to pay $1 million to settle claims that it committed visa fraud for foreign employees.

Federal prosecutors claimed the company’s affiliates, including U.S.-based Globant, violated the False Claims Act and the Program Fraud Civil Remedies Act for foreign employees with B-1 visas. The visas allow foreigners to engage in short-term business activities, such as negotiating contracts or attending a convention.

“However, a B-1 visa is not proper for foreign nationals who are seeking to perform skilled or unskilled labor in the United States,” prosecutors said in a statement. “Companies wishing to employ foreign nationals in the United States must seek proper work visas for their employees, at a higher cost and with additional requirements to protect U.S. workers.”

Prosecutors say Globant had its foreign national workers apply for B-1 visas for “training” or “knowledge transfer,” though it hired them to do information technology work that was not permitted under the visas.

“The United States further contended that the Globant employees would not have met the requirements for the issuance of B-1 visas if the true facts regarding their intended activities had been disclosed. Globant agreed to pay $1 million to settle the matter,” prosecutors said. “Globant denies the United States’ allegations and fully cooperated with the investigation and, by settling, did not admit any wrongdoing or liability.”

Sistemas Globales did not respond to an email message requesting comment t Tuesday afternoon. Globant employed more than 5,000 workers in 2015 with revenue of more than $258 million, according to SEC filings.

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