Indian technology company Infosys Ltd. plans to hire more American workers instead of foreign labor in response to the Trump administration’s increased scrutiny of the controversial H-1B visa program.
The company expects to hire 10,000 domestic workers over the next two years while adding four research hubs to work on technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, Bloomberg reported. Its first new research location will open in Indiana in August 2017 and will ultimately create 2,000 jobs, company officials said.
“In the fast-changing world of today, we need the ability to be local. We need to be trusted by our customers as being local,” Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka told Bloomberg. “To work with a mix of global and local talent is absolutely the right thing to do.”
The announcement comes after President Donald Trump’s executive order directing the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to take a closer looks at potential abuses in the H-1B visa program. Critics say the program, which lets U.S. companies hire foreign workers with technical skills if they can’t find them domestically, provides legal cover for firms to replace American workers with cheaper imported labor. (RELATED: Donald Trump’s Latest Executive Order Aims To Make Companies ‘Hire American’)
Infosys and and fellow Indian outsourcing firm Tata Consultancy Services are the two largest users of H-1B labor, Quartz India reported. The companies applied for 33,289 and 16,553 H-1B visas, respectively, in 2016.
Both firms have previously argued that they need to place foreign workers in U.S. companies because there is a constant shortage of qualified technology talent. Infosys is now looking to the U.S. labor market to staff those vacancies as the potential for a political backlash against H-1B users grows.
Sikka says more investment in domestic training programs will help Infosys offset future H-1B restrictions the Trump administration might put in place.
“In the past two years, through the non-profit Infosys Foundation, we’ve trained 2,500 teachers and over 135,000 students and that has gone extremely well,” he told Bloomberg. “The number of people we have trained is almost getting to the size of our delivery organization and we will be tapping these.”
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