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Engaging with foreign govts will mark a win-win for Indian IT industry

Engaging with foreign govts will mark a win-win for Indian IT industry

Indian IT industry’s reliance on H1B visa is declining over the years. Reports indicate that the country’s top seven IT services companies saw a 56 per cent decline in their usage of H-1B work visas over the last eight years, which implies that their localisation drive has started bearing fruit. During the Donald Trump administration, Washington had taken a tough stand, making it difficult for most IT firms given the high rate of denials of visa applications. In fact, many companies lost out on lucrative contracts due to non-availability of resources in the US. As renewals processing also became stricter, many Indians were not able to get work visas in time. However, things have improved a lot under Joe Biden, whose liberal visa policy has led to smooth movement of engineers from India to onshore locations like the US. Despite things moving for the better, Indian IT firms have pursued a policy of localisation in all earnest. They have tied up with various educational institutions in the United States to create a talent pool like India.

Companies have also promoted STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education across the country. This has resulted in more local hires executing project works in the US, which is set for presidential elections in November. Although, who will win the elections remains a paradox, one expects campaigns themed around foreign companies employing locals. Hence, Indian IT industry should be ready with facts and figures to convey the American electorate about how they are creating jobs by employing locals. They should also run an awareness programme about their investments in promoting STEM education in the country. Industry body Nasscom should activate its overseas wings to engage with various intellectual groupings about how Indian IT industry is driving job creation and prosperity in the country. Perception management is an issue that the Indian IT industry has to execute vigorously in the upcoming elections for favourable government rules. The US is a critical market for the $245 billion Indian IT industry as many firms draw around 30 per cent of their revenues from the US. India is considered as the engineering talent hub of the world with most Fortune 500 companies setting technology captives in the country.

Globally, Indian engineers have made a name for themselves with many of them currently heading global technology giants like Google and Microsoft. Hence, free movement of Indian engineers across the world should be a priority for maintaining India’s position as the IT capital of the world. And favourable policies of various foreign governments are critical for its long-term sustainability. The IT industry contributes around eight per cent to India’s GDP as of now, which can touch 20-25 per cent in the coming years. This will only be possible if the country attracts the best of corporate houses to the country with an easy movement of its talent across the world. Therefore, Indian IT industry should increase its engagement levels with various government agencies across the world not only to increase their reach, but also to drive more investments into the country.

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