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As US visa troubles deepen, more Indians look to come back: Deloitte report

LiveMint logoLiveMint 18-04-2017 Rozelle Laha

New Delhi: More Indians living in the US want a job back home after Donald Trump became the president of the world’s largest economy.

The number of Indians in the US searching for jobs in India has gone up more than 10-fold between December and March, according to an analysis by consulting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Pvt. Ltd, shared exclusively with Mint .

There were approximately 600 US-based Indians seeking jobs in India in December 2016. By the end of March 2017, the number had gone up to approximately 7,000, Deloitte analysis said.

ALSO READ: Donald Trump orders review of H-1B visa norms, in deterrent to Indian IT companies

This data comes amid a crackdown by the Trump administration on job visas for skilled workers, including software engineers from India.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services said employers seeking H-1B work visas—a non-immigrant visa allowing American firms to employ foreign workers—for 2018 declined for the first time in five years.

The surge in the number of applicants has been triggered by Trump’s vows to protect jobs for locals.

A Bloomberg report on Tuesday said Trump will take aim at information technology outsourcing companies when he orders a review of H-1B visa programmes to favour more skilled and highly paid applicants. The report also cited companies such as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. and Mphasis Corp. as examples of outsourcing firms that would likely have fewer visas approved once the changes are adopted. The H-1B work visa programme channels thousands of foreign workers to the US technology industry.

“While US companies will find some tech talent in the US, the numbers might be less than what are required to meet their needs. Add to that, the wages they need to pay to US employees will be much higher than what they pay to H-1B visa holders,” said C.K. Guruprasad, a consultant with executive search firm Spencer Stuart.

On Tuesday, Australia abolished the 457 visa programme used by over 95,000 temporary foreign workers, the majority of them Indians, to tackle unemployment.

Experts see global in-house centres (GICs) as a viable option for companies to not only retain Indian talent but also address the anticipated shortage in the required volume of workers in the US.

According to Parag Saigaonkar, Principal at consulting firm Deloitte in India, while the initial thrust of GICs was on moving job roles from a high-cost to low-cost centre to get a competitive edge, companies are now looking at non-linear values that GICs can add to the business—new things that Indian GICs can produce—and supporting the parent organization.

“With the seemingly shifting dynamics towards options between outsourcing and local hiring, companies with GICs in India could move Indian talent from the US to India and also hire locals into the GICs and thus sidestep the restrictions of outsourcing to third party companies,” Guruprasad said.

According to K.S.Viswanathan, vice-president for industry initiatives at lobby group Nasscom, while the purpose of GICs so far has revolved around cost and skills arbitration advantages and talent consideration, it is now expected to change.

“We are seeing a lot of companies looking at building newer competencies around newer technologies like machine learning, AI, automation, UI/UX, product management, DevOps etc,” said Anand Subramaniam, engagement manager and delivery head (GIC Accelerator Platform), Zinnov, a consulting firm.

On an average, GICs add 50,000 to 70,000 people in India every year and due to the volume requirements, this number is expected to go up, according to Nasscom. According to the lobby group, there are over 1,000 GICs in India. Of these, around 67% of them are of US origin. Around 65% of the total workforce of 750,000 employed by these GICs are for US origin companies.

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