IT major Cognizant has announced that it would ramp up its hiring of US citizens going forward and has filed for less than half the number of H-1B visas in 2017 than what it had sought last year. In 2016, it had hired 4,000 Americans.
The company had come under attack recently from certain White House officials for seeking a high number of H-1B visas. While Cognizant did not reveal how many H1-B visas it has applied for this year, in FY15 it had received 3,812 of them.
In an investor call following its first quarter results, Cognizant president Rajeev Mehta said, “While we will still seek visas for highly-specialised and skilled talent, we’re reducing our dependence on these visas. In fact, during the most recent filing period, on April 1, we applied for less than half the number of visas we sought last year. And we expect to further reduce our need for these visas going forward.”
Cognizant is among the top five recipients of H-1B visas of the 65,000 given out by the US government annually.
“We expect to significantly ramp up our US-based workforce by hiring experienced professionals in the open market and by making more use of university, veteran, and related programs,” Mehta said.
Cognizant has over 20 US delivery centres and its unit in Tampa, Florida has over 1,000 technology and business professionals. It said these employees were a mix of longtime local residents, veterans and recruits from local colleges. “We are shifting our workforce rapidly in the US with more US jobs and US delivery centres,” Mehta said.
Infosys had recently announced that it would hire around 10,000 Americans in the next two years along with opening of four technology hubs while Wipro expects have 50% of its employees in US to be locals.
Meanwhile, Cognizant is once again restructuring its employee matrix with over 1,000 of its senior employees instructed to opt for a voluntary exit scheme. The senior management will be given six-nine months’ pay as severance package, depending on their roles. These employees at the level of directors and senior VP.