Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) the country’s largest information technology (IT) services provider, has applied for 5,900 H-1B visas for America this year, up 1,400 from last year’s 4,500 applications. The company also said it was going to hire 50,000 more employees this financial year.
“The challenge of visa rejection, especially in the L1 category (a non-immigrant visa meant for US entry for work purposes and legally a stepping stone to permanent residency application), continues. It is still in the 50 per cent range. So, we have changed our focus and opted for H-1B visas,” said Ajoy Mukherjee, executive vice-president and head, global human resources. The company had changed its visa strategy last quarter.
The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations. There is a yearly numerical cap on the number than can be issued and the US employer has to apply on behalf of the individual. With visa rejections becoming a challenge, a lot of companies have gone back and opted for H-1B visas; the US Citizenship and Immigration Services department, or USCIS, had announced that the cap of 85,000 visas for 2012-13 was completed within three months. Much faster than in the last three years, when the cap could not be achieved even in the seventh to 10 month.
Mukherjee also said the company is start visiting college campuses in America later this year for hiring. “In the first quarter of FY13, we hired about 550 people in the US. We will also start visiting the campus. Last year, we had visited over 30 universities. Other than this, our business associates (temporary hires) number has also gone up,” he said.
With 243,545 employees (as of June 30), Mukherjee’s job, along with
S Mahalingam, chief financial officer, has become much more challenging. “We call it managing paradoxes. At the one end, Maha (Mahalingam) wants to control cost, so that margins are maintained. But I have to think of employee expectation and also have to see that a team leader does not have any supply issue,” added Mukherjee.
From the human resource perspective, Mukherjee says it is about managing the employee pyramid. TCS’ fresher to lateral ratio is 60:40. “We follow a very strict business plan and monitor this plan closely. Our business plan gets finalised by January-February. Our bulk of campus hires join from Q2, whereas laterals depend on the skill requirements and the bulk comes in the first quarter,” he explained.