The change will help the company weather the recent decision of the Trump administration to hike minimum wage requirements and narrow the definition of specialty occupation for H-1B visas. Indian IT services companies have been working towards a visa independent model ever since the US started tightening the work visa requirements.
That includes ramping up campus hiring programmes, focusing on STEM education in the US, and setting up innovation centres to attract local talent. These make the hires relatively cheaper, often cheaper than bringing someone on an H-1B visa. “Our location independent methods and local hiring will help mitigate the impact to a large extent,” said Milind Lakkad, TCS’s executive VP and chief human resource officer, referring to the recent US decisions.
“That does not mean there will not be any impact at all, but we will have to deal with it, quantify it and figure out the strategy,” he said.
The pandemic has been a game changer, Lakkad said, when it comes to changing the mindset of the people and the management. With no travel to the US in the last six months for onsite projects, customers and employees have realised that it is possible to work on critical projects in the US even while sitting in India. “Chances of that happening are now more than ever. Even earlier, we were used to offshoring, but for critical skills, customers thought they need to be with them. That’s no longer the case anymore,” Lakkad said.
TCS does not provide a breakup of the number of employees it has in the US or the annual hiring done, but had said in its annual report that it “hired over 20,000 employees in the last five years,” making it “one of the top job creators in IT services and consulting” in the US. The company hired 1,000 trainees in the US last year, and in the first half of this fiscal has already touched the same number.