Fearing Tighter US H1-B Visa Regime, Indian IT Firms Rush to Hire, Acquire

November 28 2016
Fearing Tighter US H1-B Visa Regime, Indian IT Firms Rush to Hire, Acquire

Bangalore: Anticipating a more protectionist US technology visa programme under the administration of Donald Trump, India's $150 billion IT services sector will speed up acquisitions in the United States by recruiting more number of candidates from the college campuses there.

Indian companies like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys and Wipro have long time used the H1-B skilled worker visas to fly their computer engineers to US, their largest overseas market, temporarily to service clients.Employee from this three companies accounted for around 86,000 new H1-B workers in 2005-14. Now, US has issues close to that number of H1-B visas each year.

US President-elect Donald Trump's campaign rhetoric, and his pick for Attorney General of Senator Jeff Sessions, a long-time critic of the visa programme, have many expecting a tighter regime.

"The world over, there's a lot of protectionism coming in and push back on immigration. Unfortunately, people are confusing immigration with a high-skilled temporary workforce, because we are really a temporary workforce," said Pravin Rao, chief operating officer at Infosys, India's second-largest information technology firm.

This restrictive measure would push the Indian IT firms to send fewer skilled developers and engineers to the United States and will begin to increase the campus requirements there.

"We have to accelerate hiring of locals if they are available, and start recruiting freshers from universities there," said Infosys' Rao, noting a shift from the traditional model of recruiting mainly experienced people in the US.

"Now we have to get into a model where we will recruit freshers, train them and gradually deploy them, and this will increase our costs," he said, noting Infosys typically recruits 500-700 people each quarter in the US and Europe, around 80 percent of whom are locals.