Wipro localising more in US, says Rishad Premji


New York, May 28: Indian IT services giant Wipro is “localising more” in the US and more than half of its workforce in the country now consists of locals, the company’s Chief Strategy Officer Rishad Premji said asserting that the firm is very committed to the US market. Premji, who is Member of the Board at Wipro, said Wipro currently has a workforce of over 14,000 employees in the US and 58 per cent of those are locals. Under the Donald Trump administration, there is heightened scrutiny of the H1B work visa programme, which several lawmakers allege is being abused to replace Americans with foreign workers. The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
Since taking office, Trump has ordered an overhaul of the H1B visa programme to check visa fraud and abuse, and his administration has taken steps to tighten scrutiny of applications, adding to the uncertainty and anxiety of thousands of IT workers on the visas over their future. “So we are not a 50-50 company. (The US) still remains one of our largest markets so it’s an area of big focus for growth and I think if you cannot win in the US market, you really won’t win globally,” Premji said in an interview here. Premji, who was in the city to address the NASSCOM C-Summit last week, said Wipro is “very very committed” to the US market. Premji is also the chairman of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM). “We are localizing more, we are hiring on a very structured basis from campus, which has been very very successful,” he said. In June last year, Wipro said in a press release that locals formed over 50 per cent of its US workforce. In the first half of last year, Wipro had hired over 1,600 employees by “attracting and nurturing local talent to drive innovation and help transform clients’ businesses into digital enterprises”.