With US President Donald Trump slated to visit India soon, the Indian IT industry wants him to take a more sedate approach while framing immigration rules and underscore the importance of Indian techies in the growth of the US economy.
Trump is set to visit India on a two-day- two-city tour from February 24.
"We cannot treat high skill talent mobility as an immigration problem. High skill talent mobility is critical for a company's growth. US administration has to realise that 90 percent of the H1-B visa today are going to the US companies and not the Indian companies. It is going to the US companies, who need Indian talent to fuel their innovation,"NASSCOM President Debjani Ghosh said.
This comes at the back of talent crunch in in the US.
"Contribution of Indian talent to the US innovation is tremendous. I do not think the US government completely realises it," she said.
Since the Trump administration took over in 2017, H1-B visa regulations has been tightened. This included rising denial rates and increased Requests for Evidence (RFE). Indian IT firms was hit given that Indians are one of the major beneficiaries of the visa and last couple of years saw hundreds of techies returning home.
As a result, last couple of years has seen stepping up in terms of localisation in the US. There are close to 50,000 locals that are employed by top five IT firms in the US, a recent NASSCOM report pointed out.
Indian IT firms are also setting up nearshore centres in Mexico and East European countries and moving some of the work offshore in a bid to reduce dependency on the H1-B visa.
Sangeeta Gupta, senior VP and chief strategy officer, NASSCOM, said that the visa cost has come down in the last couple of years.
That is why as the US election approaches, Gupta pointed out, immigration may not be a key issue since Indian firms have taken steps to reduce their dependency. The Indian IT industry generated $191 billion for the FY2020 with net addition of 2,05,000. The industry has grown 7.7 percent compared to the 6.1 percent the industry saw in FY19, according to a report by NASSCOM.
In FY18, the company reported revenue of $177 billion and added close to 190000 people.
"Given the macro-economic conditions the industry has done well. But we are cautiously optimistic," said Keshav Murugesh, Chairman, NASSCOM and CEO, WNS Global Services.
On the impact of the coronavirus on Indian IT companies, UB Pravin Rao, COO, Infosys, said that the IT sector may see some indirect impact in the medium to long-term as some of the clients have exposure to manufacturing in China.In terms of exports, the sector generated $147 billion, up 8.1 percent from $136 billion in FY19. In the last 10 years, the Indian IT industry has added two million jobs and has created 10,000 new technology companies in overall consolidation.
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