Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka has sought to allay concerns over the ongoing issue of H1B visa curbs, saying that the Indian IT industry is not overly dependent on the US visas to run its business, even as President Donald Trump cracks down on the US companies employing foreigners at low wages instead of Americans. Infosys shares rose in trade today, and were among the top large cap gainers, rising by over 2.5% to Rs 968.
“It is wrong to say and to think that we are dependent on H-1Bs,” Vishal Sikka said in an interview to PTI, drawing the contrast between the huge number of people employed at the Indian information technology firms and the small number of people that are actually sent to the US on H1B visas.
“For example, if you look over the last 10 years, there are about 65,000, something like that, H-1B visas granted every year. That means over 10 years it is 650,000. And we collectively employ millions of people. Infosys alone has 200,000 employees. TCS close to double that number and so on,” PTI quoted Vishal Sikka as saying.
in the US, President Donald Trump’s administration wants to replace the current lottery system with a more merit-based immigration policy. In April, Donald Trump had signed an executive order for tightening the H-1B visa programme to stop its “abuse” and ensure the visas are given to the “most-skilled or highest paid” petitioners, a decision that is seen impacting India’s $155 billion IT industry. Indian IT companies use H1B visas to send techies to the US to work alongside the clients.
However, Vishal Sikka sought to downplay the impact of Trump’s actions to tighten visa rules on major Indian IT firms such as Infosys, Wipro and TCS. “ultimately it has always been about delivering value,” Vishal Sikka said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to raise the issue of H1B visa in his meeting with President Donald Trump in Washington next week.
Earlier, India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley had taken up the visa issue with the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in order to save Indian IT companies from a potential surge in costs, and IT professionals from possibly losing their jobs. Arun Jaitley had discussed the issue of H-1B work permit for skilled professionals from India, highlighting the contribution of Indian companies and professionals to the US economy.