An employee of Infosys stands at the front desk of its headquarters in Bengaluru, India.
SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV)— Anticipating a more protectionist visa system under the new administration of President-elect Donald Trump, India’s $150 billion IT services sector begins to amp up their acquisition and recruitment efforts in the U.S. immediately.
Companies including Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Wipro have for several years relied upon the allowances of the H-1B visa program to fly their computer engineers to the U.S., their largest overseas market.
Staff from those three companies accounted for around 86,000 new H1-B workers in 2005-14. The U.S. currently issues close to that number of H1-B visas each year.
Trump’s rhetoric during his campaign, and his pick for Attorney General, Sen. Jeff Sessions, who himself has been a long-time critic of the program, 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.
Since skilled Indian tech workers are such an important part of the fabric in Silicon Valley, few anticipate a complete shutdown of the program. However, any changes to the program will likely jack up the cost of doing business for companies. A more restrictive program would likely mean Indian IT firms sending fewer developers and engineers to the United States, and increasing campus recruitment there.
“We have to accelerate hiring of locals if they are available, and start recruiting freshers from universities there,” Rao added. “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, adding that Infosys typically recruits 500-700 people each quarter in the U.S. and Europe, around 80 percent of whom are locals.