Infosys, India’s second largest IT services company, on Tuesday said it is looking to step up hiring in the US, especially fresh graduates from the campuses of top American educational institutions, even though the company reiterated that a significant talent gap still exists in the country.
“We are increasingly looking at expanding presence in the local markets as a significant portion of sale and consulting are local. Last year, we recruited 250 people from campuses in the US, on an experimental basis. If that works well, we will increase the number to 1,000 in the coming years,” U B Pravin Rao, chief operating officer (COO) of Infosys said while participating at the CLSA India Forum.
Infosys’s comments on hiring local talents in the US assume significance in the wake of increasing uncertainty in getting access to visas, especially the most sought-after H-1B visa, which allows employers to recruit and employ foreign professionals for a specified period. Earlier this month, a couple of US Senators introduced a new bill focusing on the H-1B visa, which proposes prohibiting companies from hiring H-1B employees if more than 50 per cent of their employees are H-1B and L-1 visa holders. While most experts see this development as something US politicians resort to in the run-up to the Presidential election, uncertainty on the issue remains.
“There is a continuous effort to increase the local hire and become global. At the same time, we will see these kind visa issues in the run-up to elections. It is more a political thing and we have to deal with it,” Rao added.
Most of the 250 freshers Infosys hired from US campuses last year would be deployed in sales, consulting and client facing roles. Apart from hiring from campuses, Infosys, with the help of its philanthropic arm Infosys Foundation, is also training school students in the US in computer education.
In April this year, the company tied up with a US-based not-for-profit organisation Code.org to provide computer science education and training to school students in the US, especially those belonging to under-represented communities.
The objective of the programme is to help in creating the talent pool early in their career as this would help in mitigating challenges of skill shortages going forward.
Most Indian and offshore-centric IT services companies including Infosys, TCS, Cognizant and Wipro rely heavily on non-immigrant visas like H-1B to run their projects in the US, by far the largest market for the industry.