Infosys is finally doing what Donald Trump wants it to do.
India’s second-largest IT services firm has decided to hire 10,000 American workers over the next two years, the company said in a press release on May 02. The decision comes at a time when uncertainty over H-1B visas—widely used by Indian tech firms—has put the country’s $150-billion IT industry and policy-makers in a spot.
The Bengaluru-based firm will also set up four technology and innovation hubs across the US, Infosys said in the release. The first one will be opened in Indiana in August and is expected to create 2,000 jobs by 2021.
“In helping our clients improve their businesses and pursue new kinds of opportunities, we are really excited to bring innovation and education in a fundamental and massive way to American workers,” Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka said in the release. “Since joining Infosys nearly three years ago, it has been my personal endeavor to help us get much closer to our clients, to co-innovate with them, on their most important business problems,” he added.
Other IT companies, too, have been preparing to deal with the H-1B issue, filing fewer visa applications and increasing local hiring.
The Trump administration has repeatedly indicated that it will overhaul the process by which such visas are granted. The idea is to crack down on firms that allegedly misuse this category of visas by bringing cheap Indian talent to the US and taking away local jobs. Indian firms like Infosys, TCS, and Cognizant, which are some of the biggest beneficiaries of the H-1B, have been specifically named by US officials in this regard. If Trump does make getting H-1B visas tougher, Indian firms will be forced to hire locally, bumping up costs and narrowing their margins.
In April, while announcing Infosys’ financial results for the January-March quarter, Sikka, an American national himself, had indicated that the company will hire more Americans. Infosys gets some 62% of its revenues from North America. In 2015-16, the firm had 23,594 employees working in the US and hired 2,144 local workers in North and South America.
Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy had said in February that Indian IT firms must hire more local talent in countries they operate in. “They must recruit American residents in the US, Canadians in Canada, British people in Britain etc. That’s the only way, we can become a true multi-national company, and in order to do that, we should stop using H1-B visas and sending a large number of Indians to those countries to deliver services,” Murthy told NDTV.