HCL Tech says will navigate H-1B visas woes as over 50% of US staff are local hires
New Delhi: IT firm HCL Technologies Ltd on Thursday said a majority of its 12,000-strong workforce in the US are locals and expressed confidence in being able to “navigate” through any visa-related challenges that may emerge.
The comments assume significance as companies like Infosys and Cognizant are ramping up their workforce in the US to mitigate the impact of tightening of work visa norms. The Donald Trump administration has been critical of outsourcing firms for unfairly taking jobs away from the US workers, instead replacing them with cheaper manpower from countries like India. “Today, we have 12 centres in the US, a lot of them at a significant scale. Overall, we have 12,000 employees in the US—greater than 50% of them are locals,” HCL Technologies president and CEO C. Vijayakumar said.
He added that the company has been “proactively” creating more “resilient delivery models” by setting up onshore centres. Over the past few months, there has been a growing sentiment of protectionism in not just the US but also markets like Singapore, Australia and New Zealand as they seek to safeguard jobs for locals and raise the bar for foreign workers. “So, I think our overall business model and what we have done over the last few years is really helping us navigate any situation that could potentially come up,” Vijayakumar said. The US market accounted for the largest chunk of the company’s revenues at 62.6% at the end of the March 2017 quarter.
For the industry too, the North American market is the largest contributor to revenues. The US had recently accused Indian firms Infosys and TCS of unfairly cornering the lion’s share of America’s H-1B work visas. Indian IT firms are ramping up their operations in the US by hiring more locals in order to comply with norms. The tightening of visa norms not only pushes up operational costs for these tech firms but also makes movement of skilled workforce difficult.