‘H-1B visa issue is a political thing, we’ll have to deal with it’

By: | Updated: November 18, 2015 1:02 AM

In the tech industry, there is a realisation that there is lack of talent within the US market and that there is lot of technology capability from India which they can leverage pravin rao, Infosys COO

The ongoing debate in the US over immigration and the use of H-1B visas has not caused much anxiety for Infosys, as it feels that it is on a par for the course during the run-up to the elections and also advocated a closer interaction between American lawmakers and the industry to find a meaningful solution.

At the CLSA India Forum meet on Tuesday, Infosys chief operating officer Pravin Rao said, “We will see these kind of visa issues during the run up to the elections. It is a political thing and we have to deal with it. We also need to work with the industry and senators to find a meaningful solution.”

H-1B visas, which are temporary work permits for technology professionals provided by the US government and used extensively by Indian IT services companies, have become a sensitive issue in that country. There is a perception that Indian IT companies use these visas to displace the American employees.

However, Rao said, “In the tech industry there is a clear realisation that there is lack of talent within the US market and that there is lot of technology capability from India which they can leverage.”

This perception has resulted in numerous protests and also introduction of  Bills to curb the use of H-1B visas. Recently two US senators —Chuck Grassley and Dirk Durbin introduced a Bill that proposes to institute a greater check and roadblocks on companies that use both the H-1B and L-1 visas. The proposed bill will prohibit companies from hiring H-1B employees if they employ more than 50 people and more than 50% of their employees are H-1B and L-1visa holders.

Rao said, “The current Bill is like the 50-50 which was there a year back, but having said that it has not seen the light of day.”

Earlier, there were efforts to put restrictions on the use of H-1B visas as part of the overall Immigration Bill, but it was not successfully passed. The Bill was passed by the Senate with certain modifications but the House of Representatives came up with a new bill which kind of nullified the entire process.

However, the Infosys COO said the company is also making efforts to increase its presence in local geographies which will give a global identity to the company.

“We are increasingly looking at expanding presence in local markets, a significant portion of in sale and consulting is local and on the delivery side we have recruited 250 people from the campus as an experiment at the entry level,” Rao said.

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