Indian IT major Infosys to hire 10,000 US locals in their company over the next two years.
They will also set up four technology and innovation hubs inorder to cope up with the visa related issues.
With this new centres being set up and new hires they will also focus in enhancing its play in new technology areas like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, user experience, cloud and big data.
Vishal Sikka, CEO of Infosys said that the first hub, which will open in Indiana in August this year, will create 2,000 jobs by 2021 for American workers.
The location of the other three centres will be decided over the next few months. These hubs will not only train people on technology and innovation but also help in working closely with clients in key industries like financial services, manufacturing, healthcare, retail and energy.
The North American market accounted for over 60 per cent of Infosys’ $10.2 billion revenue in the 2016-17 fiscal.
Sikka, however, said these steps were not being taken just to mitigate the impact of stricter visa norms in the US.
He said over the last three years, there has been an increase in the use of new technologies like AI and virtual reality and even the traditional projects are becoming highly automated.
“As work becomes more next-gen, you need a more healthier mix of global and local talent and so, you need to re-think the traditional, what has historically been called ‘global delivery model’ and bring in a lot more talent locally,” he added.
Over the past few weeks, there has been a growing sentiment of protectionism across various markets, including the US, that are seeking to safeguard jobs for locals and raising the bar for foreign workers.
The US had also accused Infosys and its larger rival, Tata Consultancy Services, of “unfairly” cornering the lion’s share of the H-1B work visas by putting extra tickets in the lottery system. Every year, the US grants 65,000 H-1B visas while another 20,000 are set aside for those with US advanced degrees.
In IT firms’ defence, industry body Nasscom had said these two companies accounted for only 7,504 — 8.8 per cent — of the approved H-1B visas in 2014-15. At the end of March 2017, Infosys had over 2 lakh people on its payroll. Tech companies use work permits like H-1B visa (in the US) to send engineers to work on client sites.
The tightening of visa norms not only pushes up operational costs for these tech firms but also makes movement of skilled workforce difficult. These companies are now adjusting their business models to reduce their dependence on visas and hiring more locals overseas instead.