Infosys to hire 10,000 in the US as Trump focuses on local hires

The company is setting up four ‘technology and innovation hubs’ in the US

Indian outsourcer Infosys is hiring 10,000 American workers over the next two years, in the wake of a review of U.S. visa rules and an emphasis on local hires by the administration of President Donald Trump.

Infosys said Monday it will open four new “Technology and Innovation Hubs” in the U.S., focusing on cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, user experience, emerging digital technologies, cloud, and big data.

The first such center is coming up in Indiana in August and is expected to create 2,000 jobs by 2021 for American workers, besides boosting the state economy.

The company plans to hire both experienced technology professionals and recent graduates from major universities, and local and community colleges, besides setting up training programs in areas such as user experience, cloud, artificial intelligence, big data and digital offerings, and core technology and computer science skills.

The American staff that the company plans to hire over the next two years is a small percentage of the over 200,000 staff the Bangalore company employed as on March 31 this year. The company like its peers benefits from low-cost staff in India, delivering services to customers worldwide mainly from offshore locations in the country. Some of these outsourcing companies have recently come in for criticism for displacing American workers with low-cost hires from India.

Infosys and others have come under scrutiny by the Trump administration over their use of the H-1B visa program.

Trump believes that the program has to be reformed as visas are currently awarded “in a totally random lottery,” which he added was “wrong.” Trump wants the visas to be given to the most skilled and highest-paid applicants and the program should not be used to replace Americans.

Companies like Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Cognizant get the lion's share of visas by putting extra tickets and applying for a large number of visas in the lottery raffle, according to the Trump administration.

Indian software and services trade body, Nasscom, however, says that there is a shortfall of computer science majors in the U.S workforce. “All companies, including U.S., Indian and other global companies tend to hire locally and bridge the skills gap by bringing in highly skilled professionals to temporarily work in the U.S. on H-1B and other visas,” Nasscom said recently. It said staff of Indian companies on visas are paid on an average over 35 percent higher than the minimum prescribed exempt wage of US$60,000, apart from visas and related costs.

Infosys said it is also contributing to skills development in the U.S. Since 2015, over 134,000 students, more than 2,500 teachers and almost 2,500 schools across the U.S. have benefited from computer science training and classroom equipment funded by the Infosys Foundation USA. The foundation also partners with organizations like nonprofit Code.org to advance the development of skills of millions of students, it added.

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John Ribeiro

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