Nasscom president R. Chandrasekhar comments come at a time when rising protectionism in markets like the US, Singapore and Australia is prompting Indian IT companies to tweak their business models by reducing dependence on visas and hiring more people overseas. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
Nasscom president R. Chandrasekhar comments come at a time when rising protectionism in markets like the US, Singapore and Australia is prompting Indian IT companies to tweak their business models by reducing dependence on visas and hiring more people overseas. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

Visa issues can’t be complete showstopper for IT industry: Nasscom

Indian IT companies are seeking to overcome the visa-related challenges by setting up new centres in the US, a market that accounts for about 60% of India's IT export basket

New Delhi: Issues like tighter controls on visas may have some bearing on Indian IT sector but will certainly not be a “showstopper" for its overall growth and ambitions, Nasscom president R. Chandrashekhar said on Thursday.

The comments come at a time when rising protectionism in markets like the US, Singapore and Australia is prompting Indian IT companies to tweak their business models by reducing dependence on visas and hiring more people overseas, instead.

“Obviously, some of these factors would have some impact on the industry. But it is not as if these are issues which will become a complete showstopper for the industry," Chandrashekhar told PTI.

Indian IT companies are seeking to overcome the visa-related challenges by setting up new centres in the US, a market that accounts for about 60% of India’s IT export basket. Infosys, for example, has said it will set up 4 technology and innovation hubs in the US and hire about 10,000 locals there.

Earlier this week, India’s third largest IT services firm Wipro said it has set up a technology centre in Plano, Texas and plans to ramp up its headcount in the American state to 2,000 over the next few years.

“We have a continuous dialogue with countries to advise them on what impact it is having on the industry," said Chandrashekhar, whose term as Nasscom president comes to an end on 31 March.

Industry veteran Debjani Ghosh has been named the next president of Nasscom and will be the first woman to head the tech association.

On visa-related issues that have cropped up time and again, Chandrashekhar said India has skilled workforce and talent in surplus at a time when many other countries are facing substantial manpower shortages.

“We are not as vulnerable as people may think we are. India has a surplus of skilled human resources and talent and many of these countries have substantial shortages. All projections going forward indicate that those shortages will not only continue but actually increase," he said.

The IT related skills are continuously evolving and hence building right skillsets to fill the gap is a “shifting goalpost", he said.

The US, the UK, other European countries, Canada, Australia and Japan which are also large markets for Indian IT industry are facing a “skills deficit", he said.

“Some of them have shown preference for permanent movement of skilled people as opposed to temporary movement. We advocate a temporary movement (of workforce) because tech skills needed are niche skills and requirement tends to be transient," he said.

The software industry body has projected a flat export growth at 7-9% for FY’19, marginally higher than 7.8% that the industry likely to close the current financial year with. The software exports are expected to touch $167 billion this fiscal year, accounting for 24% of the country’s exports.

Close