The decision by Indian outsourcing firm Infosys shows how CEOs are attempting to navigate the president’s potentially costly protectionist agenda by appearing to make offerings of their own, presumably in the hope of smoothing relations with Washington while new rules are being hammered out.
Infosys’ CEO Vishal Sikka didn’t directly attribute the hiring decision to Trump’s policy announcements. It also was unclear how much of Infosys’ plans had changed from its intentions.
As previously reported by Chief Executive, the heads of companies including Intel have taken a similar approach to dealing with the president: find some common ground, no matter how vague, and have something to offer, even if it’s more a publicity opportunity than a strategy overhaul.
“Learning and education, along with cultivating top local and global talent, have always been the core of what Infosys brings to clients; it is what makes us a leader in times of great change,” Sikka said in a statement this morning.
He added: “In helping our clients improve their businesses and pursue new kinds of opportunities, we are really excited to bring innovation and education in a fundamental and massive way to American workers.”
The U.S. expansion involves the construction of four new innovation hubs, focusing on technology such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing and big data. The first hub will open in Indiana by August and employ 2,000 Americans by 2021, Infosys said.
Last month, companies hiring foreign workers on H-1B temporary visas were put on notice by a new executive order, though no definitive reforms have yet been suggested by the president.
Numerous possible changes to skilled migration rules have been suggested by White House officials, including dropping a lottery allocation system and only awarding visas based on merit. The bar also could be raised on the minimum wage level that would qualify for a visa or the type of applicable degree.
Sikka said he’s always had a desire to get closer to the company’s clients since he took the reins at Infosys three years ago. “Having lived in the U.S. for nearly 30 years, and being a part of the incredible innovation here, I truly believe Infosys can help clients bring innovation more directly into their businesses, as they create and drive their digital transformations,” he said.
“We can achieve this by enhancing our ability to attract and recruit local top talent across the United States, by harnessing the global scale of Infosys, through software and platforms, and by educating and training people in the necessary skills.”