Whistleblower report prompts call to action

(CBS News) Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the senior Republican on a Senate committee overseeing immigration and visa policy is calling for action following a CBS News report featuring whistleblower Jay Palmer.

Palmer, a principal consultant for Infosys, accuses the tech giant of putting Americans out of work by illegally bringing in foreign workers at lower wages.

"CBS This Morning" featured Palmer's story on Thursday.

Now, Grassley is pressing for "a thorough investigation by the Departments of State and Homeland Security of the B-1 visa program."

The B-1 visa allows foreign companies to send employees to the U.S. for meetings. But Palmer says Infosys was sending them to the U.S. for jobs.

(Watch John Miller's original report below.)

Grassley said, "If you're bringing them here to work full time and maybe cheaper labor, it's not only against the law, it's immoral and unjustified and unethical."

Palmer says the practice displaced American workers qualified for the same jobs, but, he charges, it increased profits.

Palmer said, "For example...if I'm gonna pay you $15,000 a year, why would I pay an American or a legal worker $65,000 a year? It makes no - it's just economics."

Ron Hira, an expert on immigration and visa policy, told CBS News the problem is bigger than just one company. "A number of companies, very profitable, large companies that are expanding very rapidly are exploiting loopholes that should be closed," he said.

Palmer says after he blew the whistle, Infosys retaliated against him. Now he is suing the company. Infosys categorically denies all of Palmer's allegations, saying they will address the facts in court.

On "CBS This Morning" Friday, CBS News senior correspondent John Miller said the State Department has acknowledged that the B-1 visa program needs more oversight because of the potential fraud.

Miller said, "I think one of the things that has irked Sen. Grassley, is in 2011, the company in this story, and there are others, applied for 4,700 more of these worker visas on the idea that they needed nearly 5,000 people that had skills so specialized that no American computer worker could do them."

The living conditions of the people who come to the U.S., Miller said, are of concern also to Palmer and fellow Infosys employee Marti Harrington.

"(They) were appalled by the conditions," Miller said. "These people came in on either these specialized worker visas or visas where you're just allowed to come for a meeting and not supposed to work at all and were stacked three in a motel room. They were in tiny apartments. Jay Palmer actually went out with his own money and bought air mattresses for them to sleep on and a lot of them didn't want to be here. His charge is that this is all about profit."

For more with CBS News Senior Correspondent John Miller on the case and to watch his full report, watch the video in the player above.