Indian IT companies on hiring spree fearing a tighter H1-B visa regime under Trump

Indian Information Technology firm have decided to hire more locals and step up acquisitions in the United States to fight the trend of protectionism which is expected to follow the election of Donald Trump as the country’s President. India’s $150 billion IT companies heavily depends upon the H1-B visa programme, which allows the non-US citizens to work in the country.

Indian companies include Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Infosys and Wipro; have used H1-B skilled worker visas to fly computer engineers to the US, their largest overseas market, temporarily to service clients.

Staff from these three companies accounted for around 86,000 new H1-B workers in 2005-14. US currently issues close to those number H1-B visas each year.

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

Few are expecting a complete shutdown of skilled worker visas as Indian engineers are an established part of the fabric of Silicon Valley, also US business depends on their cheaper IT and software solutions and any changes are likely to put up costs. More restrictive program would likely mean that Indian IT firms sending fewer developers and engineers to US which will increase campus recruitment there.

Pravin Rao, Chief operating officer of Infosys said, “We have to accelerate hiring locals if they are available and start recruiting freshers from their universities”. Infosys typically recruits 500-700 people each quarter in the US and Europe, around whom 80 percent of whom are locals.

Indian software services companies have invested more than $2 billion in the United States in the past five years. North America accounts for more than half of the sector’s revenue.

Donald Trump in his election campaign has vowed to think about Americans first, keeping the prospective of jobs in mind as well. He also said of bringing back businesses from foreign soil in the USA. Indian companies need to fill the vacant seats in offices to which locals will be spotted as favourites for the jobs. Donald Trump’s election manifesto has already started raising doubts in many which include foreign firms as well.

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