Company confirms feds investigate visa use

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News,Business

An international tech consulting firm confirmed Friday the federal government is investigating its use of U.S. visas to bring in foreign workers.

Mu Sigma spokeswoman Michelle Faulkner told The Associated Press authorities had asked the company to provide certain information related to its use and sponsorship of visas.

"We are providing relevant documents and records and will continue to comply and cooperate fully with all relevant authorities," she said in an email.

The Justice Department declined to comment on the matter.

Privately held Mu Sigma is headquartered in Northbrook, Ill. A spokesman for the company in India said CEO Dhiraj Rajaram also runs the company from offices in Bangalore, India where its delivery center is based. Mu Sigma also has offices in Arkansas, Texas and Washington, as well as in England and Australia. It listed its revenue at more than $63 million in 2011, the last time it made such data public.

Mu Sigma describes itself as "one of the world's largest decision sciences and analytics firms," helping companies harness big data. It lists clients including Microsoft and more than 70 Fortune 500 companies.

Tech companies are among the biggest users of the nation's temporary worker visa program, insisting they need to bring in talented computer programmers and analysts to fill jobs for which Americans don't have the skills. Companies can apply for a limited number of 3-year visas, renewable for up to six years. Congress is considering whether to expand the number of available visas, as well as whether to implement more restrictions as part of a broader immigration overhaul or as a stand-alone bill.

An AP analysis of records obtained through a Freedom of Information Request by Rochester Institute of Technology Professor Ron Hira shows Mu Sigma brought in nearly 150 H-1B temporary workers since 2009.

Last year, Indian tech giant Infosys settled a federal case for a record $34 million over allegations of visa fraud. In that case, prosecutors were investigating whether Infosys brought in employees under a separate, less rigorous, business visa program designed for executives participating conferences or contract negotiations, and instead hired those workers out for consulting work at other companies.

Mu Sigma declined to clarify whether the current federal investigation is targeting H-1B or the business visas. Under the settlement, Infosys acknowledged only incorrectly filling out immigration forms.

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Paul Wiseman contributed to this report from Washington.

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Follow Laura Wides-Munoz on Twitter: https://twitter.com/lwmunoz

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